Couple sentenced to prison for hit-and-run crash that killed USC student, injured another
LOS ANGELES – LOS ANGELES (AP) — A couple was sentenced to prison Monday for a 2009 hit-and-run crash that killed a University of Southern California student and badly injured another who was trapped in the broken windshield as the car drove another 400 feet.
Claudia Cabrera, 31, was sentenced to eight years in state prison and her husband, Josue Luna, 34, got seven years during a Los Angeles County Superior Court hearing. The judge issued the maximum sentence after tearful remarks from the dead student's mother and the survivor, Marcus Garfinkle.
"I will never forget waking up on the side of the street, covered in blood, naked. ... All my muscles out of my body," Garfinkle wept as he addressed the court. "All my bones out of my legs and my entire stomach was smashed open, gushing blood."
Cabrera and Luna told the court they were remorseful, but Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry rejected their request for a lesser sentence, calling their actions "outrageous and shocking."
Prosecutors say Cabrera, who was driving on a suspended license, had her 7-month-old son in the Infiniti sedan when she ran a red light and struck Garfinkle and 18-year-old Adrianna Bachan in March 2009 in a crosswalk near the USC campus. Bachan died of massive head injuries.
Authorities say 19-year-old Garfinkle's legs were broken after he was carried up to 400 feet on the windshield until the car stopped.
A witness testified he saw Luna yanking Garfinkle out of the broken windshield while the driver pushed from the inside. The car then fled, leaving Garfinkle lying on a sidewalk.
Prosecutors said Cabrera fled, in part, because she had been drinking at a party.
"They have destroyed our lives and wiped out one of the happiest and most promising young women...my daughter," a weeping Carmen Bachan told the court. "I loved my baby."
Prosecutors said the couple tried to hide after the crash by having the windshield repaired and having the car towed to Tijuana, Mexico.
Cabrera was arrested in April 2009 and Luna was arrested about two weeks later in San Ysidro as he crossed back into the U.S. from Mexico.
Both pleaded no contest in March to felony charges of hit-and-run driving resulting in great bodily injury. Cabrera also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter.