A former police officer was drunk when he slammed his car into a young mother’s car, which killed her a short while later. Today, he’s walking free.
During the first hours of July 16, 2011, Pete Munoz, who was then a police officer in Coral Springs, Florida, was driving so fast that he wasn’t able to avoid hitting Jennifer Gutiérrez, 24, as she made a turn at an intersection.
Munoz’s blood-alcohol level was .228, nearly three times the legal limit, but his lawyer was able to prove that the blood sample wasn’t taken legally, so the evidence was barred from court and the DUI manslaughter charge was dropped.
This Wednesday, he was cleared of his vehicular manslaughter charge after a judge found there was insufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution. Munoz, who lost his job shortly after the incident, didn’t speak with reporters as he left the courtroom.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Sally Matson told CBS4 that Gutiérrez’s family was disappointed by the outcome: “It was a very painful decision for them – the fact that the defendant had a blood-alcohol content of almost three times the legal limit and that the case, the blood, was thrown out, which rendered the case impossible to proceed upon.”
Gutiérrez, who had Xanax and cocaine in her system at the time of the accident, was an aspiring lawyer and a single mother, raising her daughter Mia, then 4-years-old. She was also the only daughter of Aracelis Gutiérrez.
Aracelis is now raising Mia and told reporters in Spanish that she’s her only reason for living and that the pain will never go away.
“I will live with this for the rest of my life, but now I have a little girl to take care of,” she said.
Aracelis said she will not appeal the decision.
Sources: CBS4 / Photo Credit: Flickr