Stephanie Melgoza, Farmington, Illinois woman sentenced to 14 years jail in drunk driving killing of Andrea Rosewicz & Paul Prowant, as bodycam video is released showing her smiling and laughing moments after deadly crash.
‘Can I still graduate?’ A college student shown smiling and laughing moments after crashing her car and killing an Illinois couple was sentenced to 14 years jail.
Stephanie Melgoza, 24, of Farmington, IL, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Thursday for the deaths of Andrea Rosewicz, 43, of Avon, Ohio, and Paul Prowant, 55, of Seattle.
The then college student who attended Bradley University, pleaded guilty to four felonies for aggravated DUI and aggravated reckless driving in February. Four lesser chargers were dismissed earlier this year in exchange for a guilty plea, the Pekins Daily Times reported.
Melgoza struck and killed her victims in a DUI crash on April 10, 2022, as the couple were crossing the street near Full Throttle bar in East Peoria.
Melgoza at the time of the crash was three times over the legal limit and failed every field sobriety test. She admitted to officers that she had three vodka and waters and had cannabis in her purse.
Shocking Bodycam footage shows Illinois Woman, Stephanie Melgoza after killing 2 people in a DUI.
“So, can I still go to school tomorrow?” pic.twitter.com/Y31rfeL7YR
— 🌙✨⭐️C⭐️✨🌙 (@theRedpill_7) May 2, 2023
‘Can I still graduate?’
An open bottle of Tito’s vodka and cannabis were found in her vehicle.
During questioning, Melgoza told officers having started her night at Tavern 41 and was heading to Full Throttle when the accident happened.
She estimated she was ‘going at least 40[mph]’ when she hit Rosewicz and Prowant.
She also told officers that she ‘think I would pass’ if given a field sobriety test.
‘Don’t test me,’ she quickly corrected. ‘But I think I would pass.’
She admitted that she had her last drink 40 minutes ago at Tavern 41.
During her sobriety test, she blew an 0.264. She was immediately arrested afterward.
‘I go to Bradley, why would this happen to me?’
In bodycam footage, released over the weekend, Melgoza can be seen profusely smiling at the police officer as she giggles her way through a test.
After being asked to ‘touch the tip of my pen’ to indicate she understood the assignment, the young woman proceeded to move her head back and forth, rather than just her eyes.
‘Just your eyes,’ the officer reminded her.
‘It’s really hard, it’s really hard,’ Melgoza laughed before grabbing her own face to steady her moving head. Despite bracing herself, she continuously failed to stay still, all while doing so with a wide smile on her face.
Earlier in the evening, Melgoza told police officers after they examined her car, that she ‘called as soon as this s**t happened.’
Explained an incredulous Melgoza, ‘I go to Bradley, why would this happen to me?’
‘I’m so sorry for everything’
Bradley University is a private school located in East Peoria and costs roughly $36,000 a year. It was roughly 15 minutes away from where the accident occurred.
Melgoza at the time of the crash was four weeks out from graduating.
In court on Thursday, the former college student told the jury: ‘I have not drunk since that day. I do not plan on drinking ever again. I want to try to do something positive to make a difference, speak out about this and warn others about the dangers that come with drinking.
‘I’m so sorry for everything, and I will never, ever commit anything like that again.’
Shortly after the crash, students held a memorial for the two victims and held a protest, angered by the fact that Melgoza was allowed to attend her graduation ceremony, despite the charges she faced. She was removed from the list of students permitted to walk at graduation.
During Thursday’s sentencing, Rosewicz’s sister, Sherri Hutchinson, asked the court to impose the maximum sentence of 28 years. She said she had no words to inflict the same amount of pain that Melgoza has inflicted upon the families of Prowant and Rosewicz.
‘I don’t believe this sentence (will) please anyone, but I believe it is the most just,’ Judge Tim Cusack announced as he sentenced Melgoza to 14 years jail, The Bradley Scout reported.
Melgoza must serve at least 85% of her sentence. She’ll get credit for two days served in the Tazewell County Jail and additional home confinement time served since the Jan. 1 passage of the SAFE-T Act.