Sentence vacated for woman serving 15 years for vehicular homicide

Published 12:53 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

The sentence for a Texas woman serving 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to causing a fatal traffic accident in which she had been drinking has been vacated for clearer specification on how her community service hours should be served.

Sandy Nicole Deleon pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide after a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 westbound on March 17, 2019, killed her unrestrained passenger, Ricky Broussard. Broussard was ejected from the vehicle.

Louisiana State Police said Deleon was driving a Dodge Charger that rear-ended a Ford pickup truck after it had hit its brakes, causing the Charger to crash into a barrier and the truck to veer into a ditch on the side of the interstate.

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When troopers arrived, they reported Deleon had an odor of alcohol on her breath and slurred speech.

When asked if she had been drinking, Deleon told troopers she had consumed at least six shots of alcohol. She also performed poorly on standardized field sobriety tests and a subsequent breath test indicated her blood alcohol content was .192.

Deleon was sentenced on Feb. 7, 2022, to 30 years in the Department of Corrections with all but 15 years suspended. The first three years were to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. Upon release from prison, she will be placed on probation for five years.

She was also ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and court costs, be subjected to random drug and alcohol screens, undergo a counseling evaluation for any potential substance abuse or disorders, and wear an electronic monitor for her probation officer. Deleon was initially ordered to serve 30 hours of community service, but that was changed to 480 with 75 percent of that being used speaking to groups  — particularly high school and college students — about her case.

Deleon appealed her sentence and the community service hours, arguing “no particulars” and “no clear direction on how to comply” was given. She was also told that if she brought her children with her to church she would be credited hours toward her community service commitment.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with Deleon’s argument, citing the court did not specify how much of the community service was required to be spent doing prevention and how much “extra time, extra credit” toward her community service hours will be given if she brings her children to church with her.

Deleon also argued the trial court imposed an excessive sentence because it did not sufficiently consider her military service, lack of prior offenses and remorse for the accident. That claim was ruled pretermitted.

The court has remanded the case back to trial court for re-sentencing.