I am afraid it gets still worse. She is supposedly not guilty of vehicular murder for another reason as well. The way in which her driving killed Mr. Winslow was, well, just “negligent.” Let her attorney, Mr. DeOcampo, best explain:
DeOcampo noted that it wasn’t a typical drunken-driving collision in which two motorists slam head-on into each other or one motorist “gets T-boned.” Instead, Vazquez’s car hit the driver’s side rear tire of the Jeep, causing Winslow to lose control.
I am sure that Mr. Winslow’s family is relieved that he was not killed by a head-on or a “T-bone,” but merely rear-ended down a hill.
Do you doubt that fable that she was merely negligent? Here is her attorney’s final proof:
“She thought she was able to drive,” DeOcampo told the jury. “She wasn’t driving reckless. [sic -- VDH] She wasn’t running red lights or speeding.”
I accept that lawyers lie, fantasize, and deceive to help their clients; but DeOcampo’s arguments are insulting to any thinking person. Consider his perverse logic: Ms. Vazquez thinks she is sober; she thinks she is not driving “reckless” (sic); and proof of all that is she killed Winslow without running red lights or speeding (=120 mph as is her past custom).
Therefore Ms. Vasquez was merely “negligent” (= 2 past felony DUI convictions, plus 1 120-mph escapade for which she was not charged, plus another pending DUI count of ramming cars). I guess inattentiveness happens — despite the fact that when she killed Mr. Winslow her license was suspended, and despite the fact that she also just happened to leave the scene of the accident and worried little whether Mr. Winslow was dying or dead after his Jeep flipped down the embankment:
In opening statements, both sides agreed that Vazquez had a blood-alcohol of .13 — which is over the .08 legal limit to drive — when she rear-ended Winslow’s Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep ran down an embankment and rolled several times, causing Winslow to suffer fatal injuries. Vazquez left the scene before she was caught near the Shaw Avenue exit.
Let me translate the journalese: Ms. Vazquez, without a valid driver’s license, drinks herself into a stupor, then, for the fourth time that law enforcement knows of, gets into a car drunk and drives (but not “reckless” (sic), because she avoids head-ons), then hits Mr. Winslow on his way home, sends him down an embankment to die, and flees the scene of an accident — and we are lectured about her unloving stepfather and an addiction.
I don’t know what or who is sicker, Ms. Vazquez, or the prosecutors who long ago let her off drunk after speeding at 120 mph, or the defense attorney who calls all this “negligence,” or the society that has created a host of extenuating circumstances that can be adduced on any occasion to nullify consequences of our behavior, or the general callousness and indifference we allow for such a repeat offender to be back on the streets to kill and maim.
I do know that this is not aberrant. For anyone who reads this: we all could become Mr. Winslows today with the full assurance that the capital and labor of our society will be heavily invested in seeing that the convicted DUI driver who kills us has had plenty of prior opportunity to practice his craft, that driving drunk at 120 mph is not necessarily reason to be charged with a crime, and that when our killers face possible consequences they will claim that their addictions were caused by unloving stepfathers and perverted babysitters, and will more likely have their personnel stories aired than will the deceased and innocent.