LAS VEGAS — It’s been three years since tragic car crash in Tulare County, Calif. forever changed the lives of Las Vegas-based Espinosa family, who were on their way home from a trip to Yosemite National Park.
George Espinosa was driving the minivan that carried his wife Charlotte, his mother Angelita and his daughter Jamie — when suddenly a car slammed into them, killing the 69-year old Angelita and 10-year old Jamie.
George was severely injured, while Charlotte survived the crash.
But Charlotte’s life was shattered.
“We are trying to get by every day. It’s still hard to wake up every day without your mom your daughter, for Carla it’s difficult for her to wake up each day without her sister. We have each other, we keep each other love we give each other strength.”
The driver that hit them, 25-year-old Cheyenne Wyllie of Springville California, was found to be driving under the influence — with a .21 percent BAC. She also ran a stop sign before hitting the Espinosa family’s minivan.
Wyllie was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison and when asked if Wyllie showed any remorse during her sentencing, Charlotte had this to say.
“Well she was crying, but for me to be remorseful you have to acknowledge that you did something wrong that you wrong somebody its not enough for you to be sorry, you have to own your actions and try to make things right… For her to have drag the case for 3 years and five months that says otherwise, so but she will be in prison for a while. I hope she learns to realize that what she did is really devastating and hopefully learned from it.”
Charlotte said her husband, George, had to stop working because he still has to go through a number of surgeries.
“Now that the legal process is over with, we are going to focus all our efforts and time preparing for my husband’s surgery … madami na a total of 14 surgeries and he still has a defect on his belly, yan yung big surgery coming soon. The effects of what she did to my husband will be lifetime will be spending for his medicines, he is disabled right now the loss of income for both us is too much.”
The last three years has been a nightmare for her and her family — going back and forth to the hospital, as well to court. But she said her faith in America’s justice system has been fully restored.
“I believe in what went through, It has strengthened my faith in the justice system, nobody can elude justice, I’m so thankful for the DA in Tulare processed our case as a crime and not just as an accident because drunk driving is indeed a crime and is preventable crime it can be life altering it can be life-ending for some just like what happened to us.”
While she said nothing can take back what they’ve lost, Charlotte is still grateful for her family and friends and even strangers who have helped them in the darkest times.