FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Candace Ooley now faces more than a decade in prison at her sentencing after she pleaded guilty Friday to multiple felonies and a prior DUI she was arrested for.
The 24-year-old shed many tears in court. She was supposed to be in court for a hearing to determine exactly what charges she'll face at her trial, instead, she surprised everyone by pleading guilty.
Ooley wiped away tears while telling the court she has now decided to plead guilty to all charges against her. They include felony DUI causing death, felony DUI causing great bodily injury and a separate charge stemming from a prior DUI arrest.
"Yes, it was a surprise that they pled guilty to all charges at least at this stage of the prosecution," Madera County District Attorney David Linn said. "Because we were just getting ready to proceed with the preliminary hearing."
Prosecutors said back on the evening of May 20, the 24-year old, who they believe was nearly 7-months pregnant at the time, got drunk after an argument with her boyfriend.
They said she then got behind the wheel, driving north on Highway 41 in Madera County to her mother's house and ultimately rear-ended a Hummer with four people inside. The Hummer plummeted off the road and down an embankment killing a 47-year old passenger.
"The defendant Candace Ooley did willfully and unlawfully kill a human being, Federico Silva," prosecutor Benjamin Levy explained.
"Her level of intoxication was so extreme that at the time she hit the other vehicle she had been accelerating until one second before she hit the vehicle," Linn said.
At the time, Ooley's license was suspended from a prior DUI arrest. Officers determined her blood alcohol count was four times the legal limit for driving. While still in jail this summer, she gave birth to a baby girl. The baby is now in the custody of family members.
"It should hit home for everybody," Linn said. "The unfortunate thing with drunk driving cases is really it not only affects the victim's family the family of the gentleman who died but also the perpetrator's family."
Ooley will be sentenced on Dec. 5. She faces a maximum of 14 years in prison.