A Texas stripper was sentenced to 32 years in prison after she was convicted of intoxication manslaughter.
Amber Willemsen, 40, was driving on the wrong side of the road with a blood alcohol content of twice the legal limit in Texas when she hit Officer Endy Ekpanya’s patrol car head-on in Pearland. She was free on bond for a drug charge at the time of the June 2016 wreck, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Willemsen was leaving from her shift at the Ritz where she worked as an exotic dancer when she struck the patrol car. She was previously employed as an assistant principle in Clear Creek ISD.
Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said on Tuesday to the court that Officer Ekpanya, 30, was doing his duty up to his last minute.
“Endy Ekpanya took the hit for another citizen who was coming behind him. In his final act, he was protecting and serving.”
Officer Ekpanya was on his way to a non-emergency call when he collided with Willemson. He was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, and was later pronounced dead.
Both Willemson’s attorney, Paul Kendall, and Yenne brought in accident reconstruction experts. James Paul Evans, brought in by the defense, testified that the officer was also speeding, was distracted, and was not wearing a seat belt when the cars collided. Robin Wright, Yenne’s expert, disagreed, saying that Officer Ekpanya would not have survived the crash even if he was wearing a seat belt.
Pearland Police investigator Thomas Smith testified that Willemson was going 90 mph when she struck the patrol car.
The defense made a motion for a mistrial after learning that during a break in Evans’ testimony, he told Smith that he believed it was an “open and shut case.” After speaking with both Smith and Evans, the motion was overruled.
Willemson was convicted on Tuesday. It took the jury less than two hours to make a decision.
Feature photo: Police handout