Woman Who Killed 3 Teens in DUI Crash Begs for Forgiveness

February 28, 2020 Updated: February 28, 2020
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A California woman was sentenced to 51 years to life Thursday for her role in a DUI crash that killed three Las Vegas teens, and she apologized in court.

“I understand you hate me, wish I was dead,” Bani Duarte, 29, said to the families of the victims.

“You want me to suffer. I just want to say that I’m truly sorry and maybe one day you will forgive me,” she added, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “What I’m saying is coming from my heart.”

“I’m ashamed. I’m remorseful. I wasn’t in the right mind,” Duarte also told the victims’ families, according to NBC4.

Officials said Duarte was traveling at around 80 mph in Huntington Beach when she crashed into a vehicle carrying the three teens. The teens’ car, in the collision, was pushed through an intersection and into a pole before it caught fire.

Duarte, a mother of four, was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder and one count of driving under the influence. Officials said that Duarte had drunk at least nine alcoholic beverages before the crash at around 1 a.m. on March 29, 2018.

Brooke Hawley, Albert “A.J.” Rossi Jr., and Dylan Mack were all killed in the crash, said officials. Alexis Vargas, the only survivor in the car, suffered burns and a concussion.

“This trial was not about the defendant,” Brooke’s father, Aaron Hawley, said during the sentencing. “It’s about three young adults doing nothing wrong and paid the ultimate price because one irresponsible person decided they were more important than anybody else on the face of the Earth.”

“Everybody talks about wanting to do the right thing. You teach your kids to do the right thing. They do the right thing and they’re dead,” said Rhonda Hawley, the teen’s mother, according to NBC4.