A judge in San Diego this week sentenced a woman who drove drunk and fatally struck a co-worker to 15 years to life in state prison.
The Times of San Diego reports Latisha Ingram, 35, struck and killed Ha Minh Ta, 25.
Ta’s brother, Truc Ta, wrote his mother “cried every single night for three months, missing her son, until the day she passed.” He said his mom lost the will to live and stopped chemotherapy treatments.
His statement was read at the sentencing hearing.
Deputy District Attorney Phillippa Cunningham called it a “tragic situation” but also “completely avoidable.”
According to NBC San Diego, a jury convicted Ingram in February of 2020 of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She had gone out for drinks with co-workers and Ta and another co-worker, tried to talk her out of driving home.
Prosecutors said police determined her blood alcohol level at .18, more than twice the legal limit. Surveillance video shows Ha and another co-worker, Gabriela Rojo, of hugging Ingram in an attempt to keep her from driving home.
Ha grabbed onto the car door in a desperate attempt to keep Ingram from driving off. Ta fell onto the street and was run over by the back tires.
“I remember I was behind the car and I looked at him, and his feet. He couldn’t catch his balance,” Rojo said.
Defense attorney Monique Carter argued at the sentencing hearing that Ingram did not disregard human life because she did not realize Ta had grabbed hold of the vehicle.
“Your friends were trying to look out for you because, number one, they didn’t want you to get arrested, and number two, they didn’t want you to hurt anybody,” San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh told Ingram. “You did not accept the sound advice that your friends were giving you.”
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