California mom reaches plea deal in vehicular manslaughter of daughters

The California mom facing charges of gross vehicular manslaughter of her children after losing control of her car and plunging into the Petaluma River.

The California mom facing charges of gross vehicular manslaughter of her children after losing control of her car and plunging into the Petaluma River.

She has reached a plea agreement and is expected to be released from custody in early August 2018.

Alejandra Hernandez-Ruiz, 27, changed her plea from not guilty to no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, one for each of her daughters, on June 14, said Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell. The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The California mom was arrested in 2017, more than a year after she sped through traffic while northbound on Petaluma Boulevard, lost control of her car and plunged into the Petaluma River, killing her two daughters, 9-year-old Delilah Gonzalez and 7-year-old Sayra Gonzalez on Aug. 31, 2016.

Detectives learned there were no child safety seats in the car.

The negotiated disposition would require Hernandez-Ruiz to serve one year in custody, which she will have completed on her August 7 sentencing hearing, Staebell said.

He said she is expected to be released on the day of her sentencing because she has racked up time-served credits during her incarceration.

Over the course of her five-year probation, Hernandez-Ruiz will also be required to complete drug and alcohol counseling and will be prohibited from driving.

Izaak Schwaiger, Hernandez-Ruiz’s attorney, said despite the agreement, there is no “good ending” for the family mourning the loss of two girls, for their mother, or for the community.

“We have an imperfect justice system that does the best that it can most of the time,” Schwaiger said. “You have a good guy and a bad guy, but this is a sad, sad tragedy. There is nothing that is going to impress upon my client the seriousness of what happened other than the tragedy of the loss of her children.”

While a Sonoma County Superior Court judge will impose the sentence, Staebell said prosecutors don’t have any reason to believe that the court won’t sentence Hernandez-Ruiz along the terms of the plea agreement.

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