MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A woman charged with DUI manslaughter for a 2013 crash which killed her friend in downtown Miami accepted a plea deal Friday.
Mila Dago, 24, was sentenced to four years in prison. She will then serve 10 years of probation with mandatory community service and her license has been revoked for the rest of her life.
Dago was behind the wheel of a rented Smart Car when she reportedly blew through a red light at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 15th Street around 4:45 a.m. and t-boned a truck driven by 51-year old Benjamin Byrum.
Dago and Byrum survived the crash. Dago’s friend and passenger, 22-year old Irina Reinoso, was killed.
In court Friday, Dago apologized to the Reinoso family before pleading guilty and starting her prison sentence.
“I wish I could turn back time. Had we not believed like so many young people that we are invincible, we would not be here today,” said Dago through a translator. “The words ‘I’m sorry’ will never be sufficient to express my feeling. My highest hope is that you find peace from my sentence.”
Prosecutors said that at the time of the crash, Dago, who was 22 at the time, was in the middle of a nasty break up with her boyfriend.
As she and her friends bar hopped, she fired off a series of angry texts to him that included: “Driving drunk woo,” “I’ll be dead thanks to you,” “I’m done. You ruined me. You’ll be the death of me,” and “Lata” minutes before the accident.
Three minutes after sending the last message, prosecutors said Dago crashed into the truck. Police said blood tests taken nearly two hours after the crash revealed that Dago’s blood alcohol level was .178, more than twice the legal limit.
During Friday’s hearing, Reinoso’s mother remembered her daughter and spoke of the pain her family has endured.
“I feel a loud roar inside of me that calls her name and her silence is devastating,” said a tearful Ivania Reinoso. “Some nights when I can’t sleep I recount all of her dreams. Her graduation, her wedding day, how she will decorate her home and all the places she planned to visit. All I have left now is her beautiful memory of 22 years.”
Reinoso was a student at Miami-Dade College who dreamed of going into law enforcement. Throughout the past two years, her family struggled to decide what justice would look like for her killer.
“There has to be punishment but they also knew that she was a young woman and that even though their daughter wouldn’t live to see a wedding or another family occasion… they knew and they wanted Ms. Dago to have a future,” said prosecutor Marie Mato.
“When you take those actions you must pay for the consequences and justice was served,” said Irina’s brother, Luciano Reinoso. “We’re at peace with everything.
Dago’s defense attorneys said she plans to make it her mission to advocate against drunk driving.