Today, Judge Michelle Leavitt sentenced Aylin Alderette to the maximum amount of prison time for the crash that she caused, which killed 8-year-old Levi Echenique. Ms. Alderette previously entered a guilty plea to one count of Second Degree Murder and two counts of DUI Causing Death or Substantial Bodily Harm. She will serve a sentence of 26 to 65 years in prison.
"While we all prepare to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends, this is a solemn reminder that one bad decision can drastically change many lives," said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. "Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be deadly, and there are consequences for those who cause these tragic crashes. I offer my deepest condolences to the Echenique family for their loss and suffering. To the Las Vegas community, I beg you to avoid this type of tragedy by planning ahead if you will be drinking or ingesting any type of drugs, including prescriptions. Select a designated driver, use a ride-sharing service, take a cab or a bus, but please do not risk your life or the lives of those on the road with you."
District Attorney Wolfson believes that this is a precedent setting case because this is the first time in Nevada that a person has been convicted of Murder for causing a deadly car crash.
The investigation showed that Ms. Alderette was driving at 103 MPH, ran multiple red lights, and was weaving in and out of traffic. This was all done in and near school zones and residential areas at 8:30 a.m. on a Friday morning, which was a school day. Video showed that Ms. Alderette had been driving like this for some time, and just prior to collision she used an empty left turn lane to go around traffic that had been stopped for a red light for over 30 seconds, running the red light and then causing the crash. It was determined later that in addition to her reckless driving, she also had more than four times the legal limit of marijuana in her system.
"We have been educating people for decades about the dangers of impaired driving," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Eric Bauman. "There are still people who have not gotten the message, and choose to be irresponsible and reckless by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It seems that punishment will be the only way to get those people’s attention. We will continue to seek justice in this way, and hope that the message becomes clear to everyone: DUI is a crime and can be fatal. It is unacceptable."
Levi’s family members were able to make statements to the judge about the impact this crime had on their lives. They asked the judge to set an example in the sentencing of Ms. Alderette, in hopes that this case would be a warning to others, and possibly save lives.