FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A 25-year-old woman accused of a deadly drunk driving crash in 2013 was sentenced to five years in prison, Friday afternoon.
Officials said that driver, then 22-year-old Alyza Russell, was behind the wheel of her mother’s Porsche when she lost control on Broward Boulevard and struck 30-year-old Mackendy Jules and 35-year-old Samuel Artez Martindale inside a parking lot.
Russell was charged with two counts of DUI.
She took the stand and offered an apology to the victim’s families. “I’m gonna start by apologizing to the families of Mackendy Jules and Samuel Martindale. There are no words to describe the validity of my regret,” she said in an emotional state. “I don’t want you to see me now as the girl you read about online or in the paper. The girl who seemed unfazed, who I swear to you was more than fazed, who was devastated, who is devastated. I was heartbroken. I wanted to tell you every day how sorry I am for taking your boys away.”
Recalling that night three years ago, Russell broke down crying. “I was screaming, ‘Oh God, what have I done?’ And for a long time, I wish I’d died too,” she said. “Sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, I truly wanted to die for what I’d done.”
Martindale’s family said they hoped Russell would be sentenced to 10 years in prison. “I want justice for my son,” said Martindale’s mother.
This case could have put her in prison for 20 years, but the prosecution asked for 10 years, and she asked for four years. The judge made the decision to give Russell five years in jail, as well as five years probation.
“She put a mark on my heart that will never heal,” said Jean Jules, Mackendy’s father. “She gonna do what she need to do, but I hope she go out there and tell people, ‘Hey, you know what? I make a big mistake. Make sure you don’t do it yourself.'”
Over the course of the next few weeks, Russell will learn where she will be spending those five years. She said she plans to study for a MBA while she’s there. She also said she will work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving when she is out on probation.
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