ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The woman responsible for driving drunk and killing a mother on her way to work has been sentenced to ten years in prison. Police say in May of 2021 Jennifer Munoz was going nearly 90 miles per hour in a 35 zone when she ran a red light and hit and killed Janelle Katesigwa.
Her family addressed the court during sentencing on Friday, Feb. 24. Widower Silver Katesigwa said, “the pain I couldn’t tolerate easily. I feel lost and confused over how I’m supposed to live and to live without her.” Her youngest daughter shared, “the one thing she loved the most was her family. When they told us she had died, it felt like our hearts were ripped out of her chest.” While Katesigwa’s older daughter told the court, “instead of celebrating my sister’s high school graduation we had to plan a funeral and mourn our mother.”
Friday in court the prosecutors showed surveillance video of the deadly crash to show how out-of-control Munoz was. Katesigwa was driving to work at a local Mcdonald’s when she was killed.
Police say Munoz reeked of alcohol and that she admitted to drinking a couple of shots. According to a witness, she tried taking off on foot before police arrived on the scene. Officers said they found bottles of alcohol and a jar of THC in Munoz’s car and her blood alcohol level was almost double the legal limit.
The prosecutor pointed to the fact that this is not Munoz’s first DWI while the defense tried to explain her substance abuse issues as a result of past trauma. The prosecutor asked the court to sentence her to 10 years in jail and five years of supervised probation. Munoz took the stand, saying she regrets her decisions. “I really feel for you guys and I’m sorry that I brought suffering upon you guys,” she told the Katesigwa family.
The judge sentenced Munoz to ten years, the maximum the parties agreed to, under her plea deal. The charge of vehicular homicide can come with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. When Munoz gets out, the terms of her probation will include zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol.