Julie Bronson San Antonio TX gets 180 days jail, 10 years probation, 2 AA meetings/week for DWI seriously injuring 18 month old

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Julie Bronson, a San Antonio based airline flight attendant was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 600 community service hours, 10 years probation and a minimum of 2 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week. The jury trial for Julie Bronson started when she was indicted by the 290th District Court with Judge Melisa Skinner on May 7, 2012 for her April 2009 accident and was charged with two counts of intoxication assault and two counts of failure to stop and render aid. Claiming a defense of "sleep driving" induced by a few glasses of wine and 2 sleeping aid tablets of "Ambien" she chose a jury trial where the jury can "suggest" the sentence. This story is fueling an intense debate about jury's being more lenient on DWI/DUI offenders than judges. The victim in this case was 18-month-old Ava Lopez who was hospitalized with serious injuries over the accident and may have life long problems for it.

Sources:

http://www.kens5.com/home/Woman-sentanced-for-drinking-and-sleep-driving-t...

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Defense-blames-wreck-o...

http://www.kens5.com/news/Intoxication-assault-trial-to-get-underway-15051...

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Bronson-escapes-time-i...

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Juries-less-harsh-than...

Pennywise's picture

I feel bad for all the parties here. Assuming that her account of the events is true, I probably would not send her to prison, either.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

Clara's picture

I am glad I stopped taking it. Weird stuff, but I know others that swear by it. I probably wouldn't have sent her to prison, either.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

Ambien is poison. That being said, this is bullshit defense. Never should combine it with alcohol. 2 aa meetings a week? Now she really has a reason to drink...

JR Harris's picture

Judge Melisa Skinner tacked on the 120 days in jail and 600 hours community service after she gets out. It is obvious that the jury thought 10 years probation and "community control" via Alcoholics Anonymous was sufficient. Julie Bronson will be chanting Bill Wilson for the next 10 years. Undoubtedly she no longer has a job as an Airline Attendant and at her age the ability to get a "like" paying job is doubtful. While it is not known where she is going to do her 600 hours of community service, MADD is a definite possibility.

~You can not moderate the internet. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and expect to get away with it without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

alkieanon's picture

Justice served. Case closed.

JR Harris's picture

So do you think that the mandating of Julie Bronson to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for 10 years twice a week by a jury of her peers is "PUNISHMENT?"

Kaitlin Smith Slater, 24 killed someone and was put in jail for nearly 10 years and only has to go to AA meetings for three years after she gets out? Where is the disparity here?

See: Kernersville, North Carolina woman Kaitlin Smith Slater, 24 convicted in Hit & Run Death - July 17, 2012 http://orange-papers.org/forum/node/1984

~You can not moderate the internet. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and expect to get away with it without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

alkieanon's picture

Second guessing the jury?

Ironic's picture

I've taken Ambien. Unless this was literally her first week on the drug, I'd have voted for jail. People who take it know what's up.

Pennywise's picture

I don't think she had any idea that Ambien, even mixed with alcohol, would cause her to "sleep drive." Although she probably received a boilerplate warning about it when she picked up the bottle at the drug store, my guess is that she did not think there was a realistic chance that taking it after drinking could cause her to drive in her sleep. But maybe she should go to prison for ten years. Most people seem to think so, and she was on notice. On any account, this is not a case where an intoxicated person made a conscious choice to get behind the wheel. It sounds like it hit her out of the blue. Also, if this type of reaction is relatively normal, patients should receive more notice than the leaflet that comes with the meds (which many people don't even read). I've mixed Ambien with booze hundreds of times, and I would say "sleep driving" would be a pretty rare and extreme reaction. But she was on notice and a child got injured, so maybe she should have to pay with prison. The jury here didn't think so, though.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

Pennywise's picture

Also, the fact that she is in her mid-forties and presumably has no priors suggests that she is not a criminal minded person and generally not a dangerous drinker, if that means anything.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

Pennywise's picture

Third, it appears she pled guilty. I wonder what would have happened if she had gone to trial over her guilt?

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

2 Ambien and mixing it with alcohol tells me that she wanted a "high" that it might give.

Pro Empowerment!

Clara's picture

Sounds like a severe insomniac to me that was trying to go to sleep, not get high. She took TWO of them and was drinking with it. I took one and I often had been out drinking.

But I agreed with the defense attorney in that she was at her home, in her night clothes and had been in bed. It wasn't some decision to be at a bar, watching the superbowl and then deciding to drive. She probably pled quilty because there is no disputing that she did in fact do it, just what had her intent been, and perhaps she could have gone to jail. It's a shame all the way around.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

JR Harris's picture

State District Judge Melisa Skinner gave Bronson, 45, the maximum possible jail time given the jury's probation order.

The judge also ordered Bronson to serve 600 hours of community service during her 10 years of probation, attend Alcoholics Anonymous twice a week and continue to wear an ankle bracelet that will monitor her alcohol content.

Ava Lopez at one point stopped breathing and fell into a coma, but she survived despite an initially grim prognosis from medical experts.

Attorneys for Bronson — who continued to drive out of the gated community where the wreck occurred and onto Loop 1604 despite two blown tires on her Mercedes convertible — blamed the sleep drug Ambien for the incident.

She was drunk but never intended to leave her home that night and remains remorseful for what she did despite having no memory of it, defense attorney Patrick Hancock said.

In an emotional victim impact statement that followed the sentencing, Traci Lopez said she supported as much jail time as possible because her daughter is stuck serving a life sentence as a result of Bronson's decisions.

“I have spent three years watching my daughter try to get back what you took from her,” Lopez yelled, her voice shaking with anger. “She continues every day to struggle for that. You have torn my family apart.”

ckapitan@express-news.net

Twitter: @HearsaySA

Source: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/High-profile-defenda...

~You can not moderate the internet. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and expect to get away with it without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~