GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman has been sentenced for a 2022 crash that killed her three sons.
On Monday, Leticia Gonzales was sentenced to a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years for the February 2022 crash in Holland Township after pleading no contest to one count of operating while intoxicated causing injury. She was also sentenced to a concurrent year in jail for moving violation causing death.
She had previously withdrawn her plea of no contest to one count of operating while intoxicated causing death after the judge said the court would not abide by a plea agreement that Gonzales entered into in April.
During her sentencing hearing, Gonzales said she’s living with survivor’s guilt since the crash.
“Being their mom was all I ever wanted. Each day I try coming to terms with my reality, but my reality is just a nightmare… I often find myself asking God why because the hurt is indescribable. I love them so much. I love you boys to the moon and back and with everything I have inside of me,” she said before saying she was willing to accept the responsibility for her actions.
“If I could give my life and change places, I swear I would,” she said through tears. “Life without them will never be the same, your honor. I lost everything I ever needed and I hate myself so much. I’ve been sentenced to life without them for the rest of my life, so I’m asking for forgiveness… Yet, here I am standing before you still asking for mercy. I’m willing to take the responsibility as their mother, as a mother should. But I would like my boys to know that I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. And I hope they can forgive me and I hope the community and you can forgive me, your honor. But I will always love my boys with all of my heart.”
The judge said that while she feels remorseful for their deaths and her actions that led to their deaths, this isn’t her first time using drugs.
“This is not a one-time situation that you succumbed to pressures, and desires to use drugs. Rather, this seems to be a pattern and, unfortunately, your children paid the ultimate price for that,” Judge Jon Hulsing said.
The crash happened on Feb. 17, 2022, on James Street, between 112th and 120th Avenues in Holland Township. Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies said around 11 a.m., Gonzales was driving an SUV when she drifted across the center turn lane and two eastbound lanes of James Street, hit the curb and flipped into an icy pond.
Three boys, 1-year-old Josiah Gonzales, 3-year-old Jeremiah Gonzales and 4-year-old Jerome Gonzales, were trapped in the SUV. Crews freed them, but they died.
Gonzales escaped with minor injuries.