Woman sentenced to spend 15 years behind bars for deadly DUI cra - | WBTV Charlotte

Woman sentenced to spend 15 years behind bars for deadly DUI crash

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Jeanine Valdes was sentenced in a York County courtroom Monday afternoon to spend 15 years in prison for a deadly DUI crash that killed one person and injured another.

The crash happened on I-77 in June of 2016. 23-year-old Lacee Sullivan was killed in the crash.

Troopers said Valdes’ vehicle hit the car Sullivan was riding in from behind on I-77 north. The collision caused the victim’s vehicle to overturn. Sullivan’s friend Gabrielle Williams was also injured in the wreck.

Williams and several of Sullivan’s friends packed a York County courtroom Monday afternoon in support of the loved one they had lost.

A tearful Williams recounted the night of the accident in front of the suspect.

“I remember talking to Lacee and hearing her laugh and all the sudden I lost control of my car. We were flying across the interstate and all the sudden we were in the trees,” explained Williams.

She explained how shocking and unexpected the crash was and described the moments where she tried to help her friend.

“She wasn’t moving and she wouldn’t respond to me,” Williams told the court. Williams blamed Valdes for ruining her life and taking the life of her best friend. 

“The worst part of the whole thing is that this easily could have been prevented,” said Williams.

Several loved ones could be heard sniffling and crying during the court proceedings. Sullivan’s mother, Deitra Johnson, described her daughter as beautiful, compassionate, loving and sweet.

“I’ll never get to hug her again. I’ll never get to hold her tiny little hand. I’ll never get to smell her hair. I’ll never get to hug her tight and tell her I love her and hear her laugh,” said Johnson.

The grieving mother said that Sullivan’s family was pleased that Valdes would be serving time for what had happened.

“Nothing will ever bring Lacee back but we will get some comfort knowing she’s paying for this tragedy and the life she’s destroyed.”

Valdes was given an opportunity to address the court Monday before she was sentenced. She expressed deep regret for what had happened.

“I want Lacee’s family and Gabrielle and her family to know that I will never get over what I have done,” said Valdes.

She expressed sadness for not only the families of the Sullivan and Williams, but for her own family as well. She said she has received help for what she called a ‘blinding disease’. She said her hope is that her testimony will dissuade others from drinking and driving.

“I will push forward and try to help as many other people as I can,” said Valdes.

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