A peculiar smile on a driver’s face raises questions about remorse, responsibility, and the tragic consequences of a decision gone wrong.
The 24-year-old student from Illinois, found herself the perpetrator of a fatal DUI incident. Disturbingly, she even managed to smile through a field sobriety test conducted minutes after her vehicle careened into two innocent pedestrians. It was revealed that Stephanie Melgoza was operating her vehicle under the influence, with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.
Melgoza, a student hailing from Farmington, was recently sentenced to a 14-year imprisonment for the deaths she caused – Andrea Rosewicz, 43, from Avon, Ohio, and Paul Prowant, 55, from Seattle, Washington. Melgoza pleaded guilty to four charges of aggravated DUI and reckless driving, pertaining to an incident dating back to February. Four other lesser charges were dropped earlier this year, as part of a plea bargain struck with the prosecutors.
The fatal incident transpired on April 10, 2022. In a horrific display of reckless conduct, Melgoza plowed her vehicle into the unsuspecting victims as they were crossing the street near the Full Throttle bar in East Peoria, Illinois.
Post the incident, a field sobriety test was administered to the then-Bradley University student, which she failed egregiously. Melgoza admitted to consuming three vodka drinks and was also found in possession of cannabis in her purse. Her blood alcohol level was determined to be three times the legal limit.
Upon releasing the bodycam footage of the sobriety test conducted on Melgoza, it was observed that she, shockingly, was giggling throughout. Her lack of remorse for the double homicide she had just committed was apparent in her inappropriate demeanor and facial expressions.
In the footage, it can be seen that Melgoza was unable to follow the officer’s instructions to move only her eyes during the test. She even exclaimed, “It’s really hard, it’s really hard,” and attempted to steady her head with her hands. All the while, she sported a disturbingly inappropriate smile.
As the day of her sentencing arrived, Melgoza addressed the jury. She pledged sobriety and expressed her intent to make a positive difference by spreading awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. “I’m so sorry for everything, and I will never, ever commit anything like that again,” she said.
However, her recount of the tragic incident was unsettling. Melgoza alleged that one of her victims “walked out in front of me” as she drove to Full Throttle, and she claimed that the pedestrian hit her vehicle, rather than the other way around.
She shockingly stated, “They came out of nowhere because I’m a safe driver,” further revealing a severe lack of understanding and responsibility for the tragedy she caused.
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