A man who struck and killed a woman, sending her 147 feet from the crash site in an early morning hit and run accident, called the victim "careless" before he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said John Adrian Esparza, 31, at been drinking and was driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit when he hit and killed Rachel Lynn Spelman, 23, just after 2 a.m. on March 18, 2017, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Esparza, who has a string of driving-related arrests in his past, pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of failure to stop and render aid and manslaughter.
Before he was sentenced for the admitted offenses, Esparza took the witness stand to apologize to her family before saying, "I'm sorry she had to be so careless."
His attorney, Kyle Steele, claimed that Spelman had been intoxicated and was crossing a dimly lit street when she was struck.
Esparza continued to blame the victim during his statements, despite gasps from those in the courtroom, the local paper reports.
"We were both at fault," he said. "I promise you if she would've used that crosswalk."
According to investigators, Esparza was traveling at least 53 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone when his Honda Accord struck Spelman. She had nearly made it to the other side of the street when she was struck and police said it's unlikely she was able to see the oncoming car based on its high speeds.
After striking her, Esparza, who had been drinking earlier with family but claimed he wasn't drunk, fled the scene and drove to Oklahoma.
He replaced the car's windshield but claims he didn't try to hid the accident, and said he didn't even clean up the bloody glass in his car, Fox News reports.
His attorney had argued for probation, but a judge sentenced Esparza for 20 years in prison after the prosecutor Sherre Thomas had argued for the maximum sentence citing Esparza's "attitude," according to the news channel.
Prior to the fatal hit and run, Esparza had prior arrests for drunken driving, driving without a license and reckless driving, according to the Dallas Morning News.
"He had just gotten his license reinstated when he went out and killed Rachel Spelman," Thomas said.
Before the judge handed down the sentence, Spelman's family also spoke in court.
Her mother, Cheryl Spelman brought a time capsule her daughter had made as an eighth grader and shared a letter the girl had written to her future self, which said she hoped everything was "going good and nothing too horrible is going on," the paper reports.
Tom Spelman, the victim's father, also addressed the court. He said his daughter had always done everything right and described the moment his wife got the call from police.
"You let her go. You release her to the world," he said. "And then you get the call."
[Photo: Dallas County Jail]
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