Cheyenne Wyllie sentenced to prison for 2016 DUI crash that killed girl, grandmother

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- March 26, 2016--that's the day Charlotte Espinosa says her life was turned upside down, because of one woman's decision to drink and drive.

Cheyenne Wyllie was way over the limit-she had a blood alcohol content of .21-when she blew a stop sign and slammed into a car carrying a Las Vegas family on their way to Porterville after visiting Yosemite.

The crash killed 10-year-old Jamie Espinosa and her grandmother Angelita.

George Espinosa, Jamie's father and Angelita's son, was left with life-changing injuries.

Charlotte wasn't hurt bad, but while reading a long letter in court Tuesday, some of it directed at Wyllie, she expressed the emotional suffering she continues to experience-more than three years later.

RELATED: Toxicology report reveals Cheyenne Wyllie drove with .21 blood alcohol level at time of crash

"We're walking, talking, we act ok," Espinosa said. "But in reality, it's not. Those vivid memories of that night, those horrific memories-it's super bad. It's always at the back of our mind. It's hard to sleep at night."

"There was evidence that this defendant was receiving messages from friends that night, telling her not to drive," said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. "She was warned before the dangers of this, and she ignored it. That's why we felt murder was the appropriate charge."

After Wyllie changed her plea last month, a Tulare County judge sentenced Wyllie to more than 19 years to life in state prison on Tuesday.

"I understand I deserve to be punished," Wyllie said as part of a written statement to the court. "I know one day when I am released I will be able to help others not make my same mistakes."

RELATED: Cheyenne Wyllie to be sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison after changing plea

"She's young, you know, when she comes out, she's still going to be young," Espinosa said. "Everybody has a chance to change and I believe she could change for the better."

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward says his office will attend Wyllie's parole hearings and argue against the possibility of an early release.

"Honor them by not getting behind the wheel drinking and driving," Ward said. "Find an alternative. And there are many out there."
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