6-year sentence for drunk teen who transmitted live video of sister killed in car crash
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is dangerous so is using a cellphone behind the wheel. When all the three elements converge, the chances of a horrific tragedy taking place increase significantly. One such devastating incident culminated in 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez, a resident of Stockton, California, being sentenced to six years and four months in prison. The sentence, handed on Feb. 8, 2018, charged Sanchez with gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI and child endangerment relating to a fatal car crash on July 21, 2017 which killed her teen sister.
At the time of the incident, Sanchez had been driving after consuming alcohol and was simultaneously transmitting a live video on Instagram. In the back seat were her 14-year-old sister Jacqueline and her friend of similar age. As the video was being recorded, Sanchez lost control of her car and it crashed. The two girls in the back seat, who were not wearing seatbelts, were flung out of the car. Almost immediately, Sanchez dialed 911 for assistance.
Thereafter, Sanchez resumed the recording and transmitted gruesome images of her sister – with apparently significant head injuries – lying motionless in a field. She became increasingly agitated while trying to explain the events. Sanchez later admitted that although she had appeared heartless, she continued recording and transmitting the video to her social media followers (nearly 5,000) in the anticipation that they would donate money to cover her sister’s funeral expenses.
Traumatic childhood and behavioral issues
Sanchez was detained at the scene of the accident and later arrested after it became known that her blood alcohol content was 0.10 percent around the time of the accident. She was subsequently sent to Merced County Jail. During the court proceedings, Merced County’s Deputy District Attorney Thomas Min revealed new details of the crash indicating that after Sanchez unsuccessfully tried to buy alcohol at a store, an adult acquaintance bought it for her. Besides alcohol, marijuana and cocaine were also found in her blood samples.
It also emerged that Sanchez had a troubled childhood, becoming a victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault and child sex trafficking. She was also coerced into using alcohol and methamphetamine, which initiated the process of her drug and alcohol addiction. The psychological impact of these events caused behavioral issues which ultimately resulted in Sanchez appearing before a juvenile court when she was 15-16 years old. With the help of court-mandated rehabilitation, counseling and therapy in a group home, she was able to turn herself around completely.
In April 2017, after Sanchez turned 18, she decided to return home. This resulted in her losing access to the mental health services which were previously available. Merced County’s Deputy Public Defender Ramnik Samrao, who defended Sanchez, said that had she continued to receive “proper care and supervision” in the group home, such an incident would have never occurred. Min, however, argued for the maximum 12-year sentence, claiming that her disturbed childhood had no bearing on the filed charges.
Dangers of underage drinking
Although the minimum legal drinking age is 21, it is estimated that individuals aged 12-20 accounted for 11 percent of all American alcohol consumption. The potential for future incidents can be gauged from the fact that alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug by youth in the United States. They enjoy easy access to alcohol as many get it from adult “social providers” like parents, siblings, friends and even strangers.
In 2016, nearly 7.3 million youth aged 12-20 (19.3 percent) reported past-month alcohol use, including 4.5 million (12.1 percent) reporting binge drinking and 1.1 million (2.8 percent) who were heavy drinkers. Underage drinking results in several unfortunate outcomes including unintentional injuries, academic or socio-legal problems, physical/sexual assault, impaired judgment and death.
Recover Mental Health provides alcohol rehab to individuals with problematic alcohol use. We can help you find credible rehab centers where recovery is facilitated in a serene environment. Chat with our treatment advisors or call our 24/7 helpline 866-593-2339 to know about the best alcohol rehab treatment center near you.