A California woman who was drunk when she struck and killed an elderly homeless man and continued to drive with his body in the passenger seat learned her fate this week.
KGTV reported that Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez, 31, cried uncontrollably Wednesday before she was sentenced to 15 years to life for the April 2016 death of Jack Ray Tenhulzen, 69. Sanchez consumed five alcoholic drinks and beer in the hours leading up to her getting behind the wheel and striking Tenhulzen.
The man was walking on the sidewalk on Mission Avenue in Oceanside when Sanchez hit him so hard that his clothes—and part of his leg—were ripped off. Police said the man’s leg traveled through the back window and landed on the car’s trunk, according to KNSD.
The 69-year-old’s body flew through the windshield and landed in the passenger’s seat. KGTV reported that Sanchez drove with the body in the seat for more than a mile.
While The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Tenhulzen died instantly, a court heard how he bled out as Sanchez abandoned her car near her home. She then changed her clothes and called her boyfriend.
A witness testified that he saw Sanchez’s car outside the home and, upon further inspection, discovered a part of a severed leg on the trunk in addition to a broken windshield and a body in the passenger seat. He also claimed that he heard Sanchez “panicking and screaming” as she got out the vehicle, according to the newspaper.
Sanchez blood alcohol level was .22 percent—three times the legal limit—when she fatally struck Tenhulzen.
Challenging claims that Sanchez’s intoxication caused the fatal accident, defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that their client was exhausted when she temporarily dozed off and mowed down the elderly man as she made her two-mile drive home.
In April, a jury found Sanchez guilty of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, and hit-and-run. The mother of two cried out “I’m sorry” as the slain man’s niece spoke before sentencing on Wednesday.
“Jack Tenhulzen, my uncle, the man that you murdered, was loved,” Lisa Francisco said, according to the Union-Tribune. “He wasn’t a faceless person. I loved my Uncle Jack.”
[Featured image: KGTV, video screenshot]