Gruesome, deadly DUI crash draws 15-years-to-life sentence for driver #Justice

August 15, 2018, 4:30PM

Jack Tenhulzen probably heard it just before he saw it coming up from behind — the car that mowed him down on an Oceanside sidewalk more than two years ago.

The impact knocked the 69-year-old out of his pants and shoes, severed one of his legs near the foot and thrust his body through the windshield into the passenger seat.

The homeless man died instantly.

And on Wednesday, Vista Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour sentenced the drunk driver who’d struck and killed Tenhulzen to 15 years to life in prison.

Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez, Armour said, got into the car “knowing she was not in a condition to drive.”

In April, a North County jury found Sanchez, 31, guilty of second-degree murder and other charges in Tenhulzen’s death on June 27, 2016.

Moments before the sentence was handed down, Tenhulzen’s niece Lisa Francisco spoke in court. Francisco said Tenhulzen had been “the cool young uncle” when she was just a kid, and the only father figure she and her siblings had.

“Jack Tenhulzen, my uncle, the man that you murdered, was loved,” Francisco said, turning toward Sanchez. “He wasn’t a faceless person. I loved my Uncle Jack.”

As Francisco spoke, Sanchez began to sob, and cried out “I’m sorry.”

Her crying intensified, leading the judge to call a brief recess in the hearing. Sanchez was led out of the courtroom, doubled over and sobbing.

The crash happened after a night of clubbing followed by an after-party in a motel down the road from the crash.

Authorities said Sanchez was driving east on Mission Avenue about 6:15 a.m. when she failed to negotiate a small bend in the road. She ended up driving on sidewalk for about 100 feet, where she struck and killed Tenhulzen.

After the crash — and with the man’s body in the front seat next to her — Sanchez continued to drive more than a mile, then parked the car around the block from her house and walked home.

At her preliminary hearing, one witness said he heard the car stop outside his home, and that he came out and saw a severed foot on the trunk. As he got closer, he saw the broken windshield and a body in the passenger’s seat.

He also said he saw the driver get out, and that she was “panicking and screaming.”

During the trial, defense attorney Herb Weston had argued that his client, a mother of two, had fallen asleep for a moment out of exhaustion as she made the roughly two-mile drive home.

Weston argued to the jury that Sanchez awoke on impact and “freaked out” when she saw shattered glass, blood and a body in the seat next to her.

Sanchez, who authorities have said is suspected of being an unauthorized immigrant, was found and arrested not long after the crash.

 

VIDEO: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/visuals/100675505-132.html

Deadly drunken-driving crashes are often charged as manslaughter. In Sanchez’s case, Deputy District Attorney Robert Bruce said she had shown a conscious disregard for life that elevated the matter to the level of murder, because people with her at an after party that night specifically told her not to drive because she was impaired.

“I don’t think there is anyone in California today that would say ‘I don’t think drinking and driving isn’t dangerous’ — and yet it continues to happen,” Bruce said after the hearing. “And as long as it continues to happen, more people are going to continue to be killed.”

 

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-sanchez-sentencing-20180815-story.html

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