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Woman sentenced to 25 years to life for Escondido crash that killed four people

Ashley Rene Williams
Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 19:35:17-04

VISTA (CNS) - A motorist who struck and killed four people in Escondido, including two children, was sentenced Thursday to 25 years to life in state prison.

Ashley Rene Williams, 30, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in connection with the fatality crash on May 5, 2020 on San Pasqual Valley Road.

Killed in the crash were Yovanny Felix, 10; Emmanuel Riva, 11; the boys' grandmother, Carmela Camacho, 50; and Camacho's boyfriend, Abel Valdez, 33.

Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hauf said the victims were on their nightly walk at the time. Camacho ensured the boys got regular exercise amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hauf said.

While they were on their walk, Williams' vehicle drifted onto the sidewalk at around 8:30 p.m., plowing into the victims and then into a tree.

Valdez and the older child died at the scene. Medics took Camacho and Yovanny to Palomar Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead.

Williams was hospitalized, She was arrested about a month after the crash.

Hauf alleged that Williams used difluoroethane or DFE, a gas used in aerosol products, while driving, and had marijuana and methamphetamine in her system.

According to the prosecutor, Williams was driving on a suspended license at the time due to a DUI drug conviction she received less than six months prior to the fatal crash.

In a statement, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said, "This is an incredibly tragic case where four innocent people lost their lives. The defendant was on probation from a drug DUI conviction when she made the selfish and deadly choice to get high and drive. While today's sentence is just, nothing will take away the pain of the victims' friends and family."

Williams did not make a statement at her sentencing hearing on Thursday afternoon, but burst loudly into tears upon entering the courtroom.

Norma Espinoza, mother to both boys and daughter to Camacho, said, "I think one day I might forgive her, but I don't think I'm ready to do that now. It still hurts."

Espinoza said her sons "were my everything. They were my life." She also described her mother as her "best friend," to whom she could go to for guidance on any problems in her life.

Elvia Valdez, Abel Valdez's sister, said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter that her brother was a "respectful and humble" man and that "there is nothing that can fill the emptiness that Abel has left." Valdez said her brother's loss has particularly affected their mother, who is "torn apart" by her son's death.

Brandi Meron Krepps, who served both as Emmanuel's teacher and Williams' teacher decades ago, said, "As sad as I feel for the decisions Ashley made, justice has to be served."

In a statement released shortly after the sentencing, Escondido Interim Police Chief, David Cramer said, "Although this resolution doesn't erase the tragedy and loss of four members of our community, we hope that justice being served brings some degree of closure and peace to the families and our Escondido community."