published Friday, May 11th, 2012

Chattanooga woman sentenced to 10 years in drunken driving death of cousin

  • photo
    Alicia Eliza Miguel, 25, was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication in the death of her boyfriend Martin Martinez.
    Courtesy Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

A woman pleaded guilty Thursday to running over her cousin while drunk last July and was sentenced to 10 years for the man's death.

Alicia Eliza Miguel, 25, made no statement Thursday in the brief plea and sentencing hearing before Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole.

The victim was Martin Martinez. His father, Francisco Martin, and stepmother, Mercedes Pedro, were in the audience.

Speaking through an interpreter, Martin said he was very sad and his advice to others is not to drink and drive.

"Just because of that my son died and his cousin is going to prison," he said.

Though they are family, Martin said he believed Miguel needed to be punished for the death.

Miguel was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

All charges except the homicide were dropped in exchange for the plea.

Miguel has been in custody since her arrest shortly after the July 29, 2011, incident. Witnesses told police she got into an argument with neighbors at 3209 Seventh Ave. who had complained she was speeding up and down the road while drunk .

Martinez was riding with her. When Miguel stopped her maroon sport utility vehicle to argue with the neighbors, Martinez also got out.

Miguel claimed in earlier hearings that the neighbors had assaulted her. She said in rushing to get away, she reversed her vehicle and struck Martinez. Then she then sped away forward, running over her cousin again.

She hid the car at a friend's home at 4312 10th Ave. Police found it and questioned her, and she admitted that she had been drinking and acknowledged the hit-and-run, records show.

Seven hours after the incident, Miguel had a blood alcohol level of 0.10, records show. The legal limit for intoxication in Tennessee is 0.08.

Miguel will be eligible for parole after serving three years and will receive jail credit for the time she has served awaiting trial.

Prosecutor Kate Lavery said after the hearing that the plea result was likely what would have happened if there were a trial. She said she consulted with the victim's family and reached an agreement with Miguel's attorney, Alan Beard.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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