California woman sentenced for deadly DUI crash that killed parents of three young girls

·2 min read

A California woman has been sentenced in connection with a drunk hit-and-run crash that killed a young couple, who’d been admiring Christmas lights with their three daughters at the time.

Grace Coleman was ordered on Friday to serve at least 21 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole, KABC reported. She pleaded guilty back in June to charges including second-degree murder, driving under the influence and hit-and-run, as part of a plea deal, which allowed her to avoid a significantly harsher sentence of 40 years to life behind bars.

The deadly collision unfolded amid the holiday season in Newport Beach on Dec. 8, 2020. That night, Coleman got a ride home from a friend but later got back inside her Range Rover with a blood-alcohol level of 0.22%, which is nearly three times the legal limit.

Prosecutors said Coleman sped through a red light and struck a Nissan carrying a Santa Ana family-of-five. Both 28-year-old Gabriela Andrade and her husband, 27-year-old Henry Saldana-Mejia, were killed in the crash while their three daughters — ages 1, 3 and 5 years old — were left seriously injured.

According to a GoFundMe created by loved ones in wake of the crash, the family had been admiring Christmas decorations in the area when their vehicle was hit. The girls were even in “their Christmas pajamas” at the time.

“The magic of Christmas turned into a real life nightmare for this young family because a 22-year-old who knew the dangers of drinking and driving got behind the wheel and did it anyway,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

Three little girls are now orphans and Grace Coleman is a convicted murderer who will have to live with the screams of three injured little girls trapped in their car seats playing over and over in her head for the rest of her life.”