A 29-year-old New Mexico woman, who was under the influence of drugs when she crashed her car and killed her 3-year-old son, was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison.
Deven Martinez was driving with her two children in a Jeep last June, when she crashed into the back of a tractor trailer, killing her son, Luie Martinez, 3, who died at the scene, and injuring her 18-month-old daughter, Shania Garduño. Blood tests following the crash showed Martinez had cocaine and methadone in her system.
On a day that Assistant District Attorney Tim Williams, Assistant Public Defender Paul Branch and state District Judge Michael Vigil all described as “tragic,” Martinez was given the full sentence allotted through a plea agreement with the state.
Martinez pleaded guilty to the counts of vehicular homicide and causing great bodily harm two months ago before being sent for a 60-day diagnostic evaluation that returned “extremely poor” results, according to Vigil.
In November 2011, Vigil released Martinez from jail on electronic monitoring pending trial. She was arrested several days later after being found with the drug suboxone in her system. Williams also told the court that Martinez had successfully passed through Drug Court in 2007 but that her addictions had not faded.
“She has been successful in treatment but not in using what she has learned to change her life,” Vigil said.
Martinez was tearful during the hearing, hardly looking up at the judge before her.
“I’ve been suffering since the day of the accident,” Martinez said. “I hope you can see that my worst punishment is to live the rest of my life without my child.”
Martinez’s family sat behind her as an advocate from the Children, Youth and Families Department told the court that Martinez has maintained a good relationship with her surviving daughter, who lives in a foster home.
In addressing Vigil and asking that her sentence include drug treatment and not just incarceration, Branch said, “The most important thing today is that her mother-daughter relationship still exists.”
Williams told the court that “there needs to be punishment and justice for the boy’s life that was lost.”
Vigil ran the six-year maximum sentence on the vehicular homicide charge concurrently with the 18-month maximum sentence for a charge of great bodily injury by vehicle. Martinez will also be given credit for her 13 months spent in custody to date.
Vigil advised her to spend a majority of her time in therapy and treatment programs while incarcerated and said that with possible good-time credits, Martinez could reduce her sentence to less than three years.