FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The widow of a man killed by a 19-year-old under the influence said she will never get over losing her soulmate. Alyssa Gonzales was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for hitting and killing David Torres while she was under the influence of prescription drugs. His family tearfully told the court the loss cannot be described in words.
Gonzales became emotional listening to the victim's family and her own. She calls the crash a freak accident. But the judge reminded her it was a choice she made, after admitting she drove while feeling drowsy and disoriented. Gonzales said she will forever be haunted by the moment she looked into the eyes of Torres after she slammed into his stopped car at Blackstone and Shields. That fateful day in June of last year began a never ending nightmare for the victim's family. "As much as we pray and hope that this could all wake-up, and this all be a dream, it's just never gonna happen," said Brittney Fernandez, victim's daughter.
The final seconds of Torres' life are what the victim's widow struggles with every day. The fact that he died alone, and she wasn't there to comfort him. "So I could have been there to be by your side, or to say a prayer, or to tell you to fight, to hold on, to hold your hand, to say I love you," said Michelle Torres, victim's widow.
Gonzales' attorney said she fell asleep while driving and was under the influence of the prescription drug-- Lyrica. She didn't have a license, and, according to police reports, said she was dizzy and disoriented. "She related exactly what happened, she told the officers, 'I think I must still be under the influence because I don't understand how I ended up in this crash. I don't remember what happened'," said Douglas Foster, defense attorney.
Gonzales' mother told the judge her daughter was a teenager who made a terrible mistake. But, before she concluded, she made a bold remark about the victim. "I'm not here to make Mr. Torres look bad in any way. But, he had his issues and it could have easily been an opposite tragic accident. Everyone deals with their own pain in their own way, I understand his wife and daughters are hurting," said Kara Templeman, Alyssa's mother.
The judge told Gonzales that he has never had a defendant who was driving under the influence say they meant to do it. So, regardless of her intent or lack thereof, she must still face a consequence. "Because of that decision, you killed a father and a grandfather and an uncle-- and your life, you've seen what it's done to your family as well,' said Hon. Jonathan Conklin, Fresno Superior Court.
When Gonzales gets out of prison she plans to speak to others about the dangers of taking prescription drugs and driving. She will likely be released when she is 24-years-old.
The prosecutor also pointed out that Gonzales should have known better since she has personally suffered the loss of family members as a result of drunk driving.