Mom gets probation, work release in DUI crash that severely injured son
DuPage County prosecutors sought an eight-year prison sentence Monday for a Cicero woman who was nearly twice the legal intoxication threshold when she crashed her SUV into an Aurora pond and left her then 6-year-old son in the submerged vehicle for more than 20 minutes.
But Judge Liam Brennan instead sentenced 32-year-old Gladys X. Ruvira-Garcia to two years of probation and 200 days in a work-release program at the DuPage County jail. On Tuesday morning, she will be allowed to go to work at an Aurora pallet-construction plant before returning to spend the night in jail.
Brennan said the woman appears to be a "good mother and good provider" to her two teenage daughters. He said he considered who would care and provide for the girls if he sentenced Ruvira-Garcia to prison.
Still, Brennan said he was astonished that her son David's name "did not come out of (her) mouth one time" during her statement of allocution in which Ruvira-Garcia blamed the single-car crash on being tired after working all day, not eating enough and the rainy weather.
Ruvira-Garcia, of the 5600 block of West 22nd Place, entered a blind plea to aggravated DUI charges in January and has been free since November 2017 when Brennan lowered her bail from the original $500,000 to $150,000.
Assistant State's Attorney Jim Scaliatine said Ruvira-Garcia was returning home from a party in Aurora around 2:38 a.m. Oct. 15, 2017, along with her son, her 12- and 15-year-old daughters, and her 21-year-old sister, when she lost control of her 2007 Nissan Xterra near Diehl Road and I-88 and plunged into a pond.
Ruvira-Garcia, her daughters and her sister escaped the sinking vehicle, but the boy was left behind for more than 20 minutes, Scaliatine said.
Divers from an Aurora Fire Department water rescue team found the SUV and the boy in about 15 feet of water roughly 80 feet from shore.
Ruvira-Garcia was arrested at the crash site. Prosecutors said she had a blood alcohol content of .138, almost twice the legal threshold to drive.
David was taken to an Amita Health Mercy Medical Center in Aurora and was later flown to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where he stayed for nearly a month, in a medically-induced coma.
Dr. Steven Lestrud, the medical director for respiratory care and the attending physician of critical care and pulmonary medicine at Lurie, testified Monday that the boy had a "very severe injury" and was breathing on his own but was unresponsive to any commands on Nov. 24, 2017, when he was discharged to his father's care and believed taken to Mexico.
"It is very unlikely (David) is doing anything more today than at his time of discharge," Lestrud said.
Witnesses called by Ruvira-Garcia's attorney said she is a good mother and hard worker. They said they never saw her drink.
But Scaliatine said hers was a case about poor choices.
"Her 8-year-old boy is in Mexico with a feeding tube and he ain't doing nothing but laying there," Scaliatine argued. "David is a vegetable because of her choice when she was at .138 at 2:38. The people seek eight years. This is outrageous."
Ruvira-Garcia also had been placed on an immigration detainer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE officials said Ruvira-Garcia overstayed a temporary visitor's visa after entering the United States in May 2015.