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Woman gets 22-year jail for DUI crash that killed minor

Published On: 09-23-2016 in Category: addiction, Drug Rehab, drunken driving


Nearly 28 people succumb to motor vehicle crashes every day in the United States due to the involvement of an alcohol-impaired driver. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) thus continues to be a grave problem in the country. There are numerous instances which can act as a lesson for others to avoid drunken driving.

Sentencing of a woman to 22 years in jail by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in a DUI-related case in April 2016 is one such example. The incident had claimed a six-year-old girl’s life, while her sister and mother were injured seriously.

The incident took place in a Santa Ana crosswalk in 2012 when the driver, Jessicah Louise Cowan (37), a resident of Lake Hughes, lost control over her vehicle after driving through a red light. She dashed into the center median on 17th Street in Santa Ana, according to police.

The accused then drove past another red light where victims Osmara Meza (6), Grisea Meza (7), and Eloisa Meza were walking through a crosswalk. She hit them straight, hurling them on to the street from the intersection. Though Cowan tried to escape from the scene, an eyewitness rushed behind the car and prevented her from fleeing.

While Osmara was declared dead at the scene, the other two victims sustained serious brain injuries. The Santa Ana police arrested Cowan at the scene and charged her with vehicular manslaughter with DUI, causing permanent injury and death, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 and carrying marijuana while driving.

In a statement to the police, the victim’s father said, “It is very difficult to move forward in our lives because we are not the family we used to be. We no longer enjoy anything and we don’t go out anymore. There is nothing to be done to bring Osmara back.”

Cowan sounded remorseful in her statement, addressed to the parents of the deceased, as per reports. “For the past four years I’ve been trying to work through accepting that it was my brokenness and my thoughtless actions that caused an accident that stole your little angel from you,” she said.

Taking appropriate steps to curb DUI menace

According to drunk driving laws in the U.S., it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. Further, “zero tolerance” laws impose penalties on people under 21 years of age driving with traces of alcohol in their blood. With the installation of sobriety checkpoints, the police can stop vehicles at any point to detect if a person is DUI of alcohol.

Installation of ignition interlocks in vehicles helps measure alcohol content in a driver’s breath. However, the need of the hour is to spread awareness among the public about the perils of DUI through mass media campaigns and other community-based instructional programs.

Fighting alcohol abuse

Continuous use of alcohol can lead to an array of alcohol-related disorders, which in severe cases, can cause serious health issues. One can fall prey to any form of addiction. But it is not difficult to overcome any kind of addiction, provided the patient overcomes fear and uncertainty, which are the greatest obstacles on the path of recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from an addiction, get in touch with the Orange County Drug Treatment and Rehab Center. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 714-202-4669 or chat online for more information.

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