James Ruiz pleads guilty to DWI deaths of two sisters after basketball game

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The Santa Fe Indian School girls basketball team dedicated last year's Class 3A state title to the Peshlakai sisters who police say were killed by a drunk driver on March 5, 2010. (Natalie Guillen/The New Mexican)

The following is from a story posted on The New Mexican website:

James Ruiz will spend at least the next two decades in prison.

That is longer than either Deshauna, 17, or Del Lynn Peshlakai, 19, lived.

The 36-year-old Ruiz, who lived in Albuquerque, pleaded guilty on Thursday to killing the two sisters from Naschitti, N.M., while driving drunk on Cerrillos Road on March 5, 2010 — plowing his Ford F-250 pickup into the back of a car driven by the Peshlakai family near the Santa Fe Auto Park. The family’s dog was also killed in the crash.

“I feel the plea does justice for the (Peshlakai) family and for the state,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Doug Couleur.

The Peshlakai family, not present in court for Thursday’s hearing in front of State District Judge Michael Vigil, worked closely with Couleur and fellow Chief Deputy District Attorney on coming up with the parameters for the plea agreement, according to prosecutors.

“This is absolutely with their blessing,” Couleur said.

Police said Ruiz registered a 0.22 blood alcohol content after the crash, nearly three times the level a driver is presumed drunk in New Mexico.

According to the agreement, Ruiz, who faced up to 66 years, will be sentenced to 40 years in prison with the possibility of being sentenced to the other 26 years if he violates his probation or parole upon his release from prison. With good time considerations in prison, that sentence could be reduced to as few as 20 years.

Check the story on The New Mexican’s website for the full story and all the details from Thursday’s plea:

  1. Adrianne says:

    in Loving Memory of the Peshlakia sister’s! )’: who well be missed sooo muuch.. )’;
    Pleas don’t drink && drive!


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