NEW YORK (CBS 2) – There was a guilty plea entered Tuesday in the drunk-driving case that lead to “Leandra’s Law” here in New York State.
The driver of the car that killed Leandra Rosado pleaded guilty to manslaughter as the dead girl’s father and one of her injured friends looked on.
Giselle Rosario stood on her re-built legs waiting for justice. She’s the most seriously injured survivor of the horrific West Side Highway crash that killed her 11-year-old friend back in October.
Carmen Huertas, 32, pleaded guilty to driving drunk in the crash that killed Leandra and injured six other girls left in her care for an ill-fated ride to a slumber party.
“It was pretty hard, but I was trying to be strong,” she told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
Huertas answered the judge in a strong voice Tuesday, wavering on the verge of tears when Leandra’s name was mentioned. She told the judge she’d been drinking cognac that night and said “yes” when asked if she was responsible for the mayhem that followed.
The judge said she’ll she get between three and 14 years when sentenced Oct. 1.
The dead girl’s father has already successfully campaigned for a state law making it a felony to drive drunk with a minor in the car. He said Huertas is getting off easy.
“This young lady took my daughter’s life. She was 11 years old and she had her whole life ahead of her. She gave me her word that night and it hurts. She said, ‘Lenny, you’re daughter’s in good hands,’ and that hurts,” Lenny Rosado said.
The truth is, Lenny Rosado isn’t exactly thrilled with this plea deal. He’d like a guarantee that Huertas would get at least 10 years in prison. But he told CBS 2’s Young he’s a realist and is shifting his attention now from this case that killed his daughter to a nationwide campaign to toughen drunk-driving laws.
Lenny Rosado has been invited to Washington next month to discuss “Leandra’s Law” with people at the Department of Transportation.