The driver in a crash in which U.S. national soccer team forward Charlie Davies sustained personal injuries and a female passenger died pleaded guilty on November 16 to charges of involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.
When her sentencing comes in February, 23-year-old Maria Espinoza could face up to 13 years in prison. However, sentencing guidelines suggest it will be closer to 3-4 years. She also agreed to pay restitution to Davies and the family of 22-year-old Ashley Roberta, the female passenger who was killed. The amount was not made public.
On October 12, 2009, Espinoza, Davies, and Roberta met at a restaurant in Georgetown, Virginia and went to a nightclub, which they left together around 1:30 a.m., according to a court document.
Espinoza agreed to drop Davies off at his hotel, but wasn’t familiar with the area. She was using a GPS device to get directions, but missed an exit she needed to take. She took her eyes off the road on George Washington Memorial Parkway to take another look at the GPS and collided with a bridge support, according to the document. The force of the crash split the vehicle in half and killed Roberta, who was sitting in the front seat.
Espinoza was driving above the 40 mph speed limit and her blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.13, above the legal limit of 0.08, according to the plea agreement.
A person who stopped to help after the accident said that Espinoza attempted to pull Davies out of the car, but he was pinned in the back of the vehicle. The court document said he had consumed very little alcohol and was not under the influence.
Davies suffered broken bones in his right leg, elbow, and face and a lacerated bladder. His injuries resulted in him missing the 2010 World Cup.