On Thursday, a judge pronounced judgment on a man, sentencing him to a maximum of 13 years and 8 months imprisonment. The verdict was based on a hit-and-run accident that occurred during a Halloween night, killing 3 teenage girls. The judge called the suspect’s actions as “shocking, inhumane, and unconscionable.”
During that night, Jaquinn Ramone Bell, 32 years old was driving, but on a suspended driver’s license from a preceding hit-and-run accident. He ran over Andrea Gonzalez, along with her twin friends Lexandra and Lexi Perez Huerta.
The 13-year old girls were out for a trick or treat adventure within the neighborhoods, a usual activity that is frequently seen during the Halloween. They were innocently walking in a crosswalk when they suddenly got hit by a car, killing all 3 of them.
Bell had his own 2 teenage kids in the car with him during the accident, fleeing from the scene of the accident, but was arrested after a few days at Motel 6.
Initially, the police officers suspected him of drinking that night; however, the authorities did not have adequate evidence in charging him with DUI or driving under the influence, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burk. Since Bell escaped from the scene, there had been so much time in determining if he really was intoxicated, Burk explained.
However, on Friday, Bell was sentenced to a max of 13 years and 18 months imprisonment by Judge Gassia Apkarian. The sentence also includes an additional 2 years imprisonment for probation violation.
Burk explained that Bell could have sentenced for murder and sentenced to stiffer punishment, only if the authorities were able to prove the DUI during that time. He is now more likely to serve half of the sentence, and might be released after 7 years, Burk said.
The relatives of the 3 teenage girls were in tears due to the devastating loss of their family members. The mother of Andrea Gonzalez, Maria Gonzalez described the horror of learning about the accident from her home as she rushed out to see what happened. In tears, Maria said she could still hear that noise from the impact of the crash, sounding in her head almost continuously. She finally admitted that her family will never be the same again after the loss of her daughter.
Meanwhile, the mother of the twins, Cynthia Huerta said she had been struggling to tell her 6-year-old daughter about what happened to her twin sisters. Both families expressed their frustration and anger that the suspect could not be punished more under the law, although they were still pleased to see the suspect receive the maximum sentence.
Brenda Gonzalez, 24 years old and a sister of Andrea said that sometimes the law tends to protect the rights of the wrong person.
Prior to the recent hit-and-run accident, the suspect’s license was revoked on August 4. But, he pleaded not guilty to a previous hit-and-run accident as he was driving under the influence. The earlier incident occurred in another city.