A Michigan mother begged for forgiveness moments before being jailed for a DUI car crash that killed her three young sons.
Leticia Gonzales was handed a two to five-year sentence on Monday for the February 2022 crash in Ottawa County.
The mother had been under the influence when she crashed her SUV into a curb, plunging the vehicle into an icy pond.
She managed to escape but her sons - Josiah, one; Jeremiah, three; and Jerome, four - drowned while trapped in their car seats.
Speaking in an Ottawa County court before her sentence was announced, Gonzales shared her survivor’s guilt.
“Being their mom was all I ever wanted. Each day I try coming to terms with my reality, but my reality is just a nightmare… I often find myself asking God why because the hurt is indescribable,” Gonzales said, according to WOOD-TV.
“I love them so much. I love you boys to the moon and back and with everything I have inside of me.”
“If I could give my life and change places, I swear I would,” she continued, fighting through tears. “Life without them will never be the same, your honor. I lost everything I ever needed and I hate myself so much. I’ve been sentenced to life without them for the rest of my life, so I’m asking for forgiveness.
“I’m willing to take the responsibility as their mother, as a mother should. But I would like my boys to know that I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. And I hope they can forgive me and I hope the community and you can forgive me, your honor. But I will always love my boys with all of my heart.”
Gonzales had pleaded no contest in August to operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and three misdemeanor charges of moving violation causing death.
Police said at the time that she was under the influence of two doses of methadone — which is used to treat drug addiction and pain relief. Gonzales had taken the medication the morning of the crash.
Although the judge acknowledged her remorse, he said that opting to use drugs was a “pattern” for Gonzales.
“This is not a one-time situation that you succumbed to pressures, and desires to use drugs. Rather, this seems to be a pattern and, unfortunately, your children paid the ultimate price for that,” the judge said.
Gonzales was ultimately sentenced to a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years in prison.