Drunk driver gets at least 51 years for deadly wreck that killed three teens on spring break in Southern California

Drunk driver gets at least 51 years for deadly wreck that killed three teens on spring break in Southern California

A drunk driver responsible for a deadly car crash in Southern California that killed three Las Vegas teenagers on spring break sobbed and begged for forgiveness as she was sentenced to at least 51 years behind bars.

Bani Duarte, a 29-year-old mother of four, on Thursday was handed 45 years to life with an opportunity for parole on three charges of murder stemming from the tragic wreck. She was also sentenced to six years for a DUI causing injury, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I understand you hate me, wish I was dead,” she told the victim’s families, according to the Las Vegas-Review Journal.

“You want me to suffer. I just want to say that I’m truly sorry and maybe one day you will forgive me. What I’m saying is coming from my heart.”

After a night of drinking in March 2018, Duarte plowed her vehicle into an SUV stopped at a red light on the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington. The impact forced it into the intersection, and it almost immediately burst into flames after striking a nearby pole.

Brooke Hawley, Albert Rossi, both 17 years old, and 18-year-old Dylan Mack were killed in the crash.

A fourth teen suffered critical burns but survived the deadly incident.

“We lost such a bright beautiful girl, and in the process we all lost ourselves,” Hawley’s mother, Rhonda, told Fox 11.

Her daughter, an honors student being scouted by college soccer coaches, had been the designated driver the night of deadly wreck.

Duarte’s blood alcohol level in wake of the crash was at 0.28%, which is more than three times the legal limit for drivers in California. Authorities have previously estimated that she had consumed at least nine drinks by the time she got behind the wheel.

Huntington police also noted that data taken from her vehicle showed that she did not at any point hit the breaks in the moments before the brutal wreck. She’d been speeding down the highway at about 80 mph before she struck the spring-breaking teens inside their SUV, according to authorities.

Duarte was convicted on Oct. 1 on three counts of second-degree murder and a single count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury. She has been behind bars since April 2018.