Driver guilty in fatal Oswego crash

June 30, 2010 4:36:15 PM PDT
An Aurora woman was found guilty on all counts connected to a 2007 crash that killed five teenagers.Sandra Vasquez was convicted of aggravated drunk driving and reckless homicide. She was stoic as the verdict was read, but broke down when the judge revoked her bond. Her brother told her to 'stay strong' as she was escorted by deputies to jail.

Families of the victims broke down as they left the Yorkville courthouse.

"She has two kids. She's not going to see them for awhile. She made a dumb mistake. I forgive her. I really do. I know she has to live with what we lived with for three and a half years," said Savannah Valdez, victim's friend.

Jurors began deliberating Tuesday in the case. Twelve hours later- after asking for a copy of the trial transcript- they found her guilty of all 21 counts. Jurors had no comment as they left the courthouse.

"There aren't any winners in this case," said Kathleen Colton, Vasquez's attorney. "There are five teenagers that lost their lives. Three that were injured. Sandra got injured. There aren't' any winners."

Vasquez took the stand during the trial, saying she had been drinking before picking up the teens at an underage drinking party in 2007, but was not drunk when she lost control of her car and slammed into a light pole in Oswego.

Prosecutors say they and the victims' families are satisfied with the verdict.

"They're not looking for blood. They're not out for vengeance. They wanted responsibility. I think that's what they got today," said Eric Weis, Kendall County State's Attorney.

Vasquez was allowed to make a phone call to her two children- aged 8 and 4- before being led away to jail. She will be sentenced on August 27.

Vasquez faces a maximum of 28 years in prison. Her attorney will ask that she be sentenced to four years probation.


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