Woman accepts plea deal in chef's fatal hit-and-run
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The woman accused of a deadly drive that left a local celebrity chef dead on Miami Beach has accepted a plea deal.
On Wednesday afternoon, Karlie Tomica, just four days shy of her 21st birthday, agreed to serve four years behind bars, two years house arrest and 15 years of probation. Her license was also revoked permanently, which means she will never be allowed to drive a vehicle again.
During tearful testimony she admitted to everything she did in the early morning hours of Jan. 28. "I killed him that morning," she said in court through tears. "I had been drinking while I was at work. I got very drunk. I ended up in my car, and I killed him."
According to Miami Beach Police, at around 6 that morning, Tomica struck South Beach chef and father of three Stefano Riccioletti and drove off, leaving him to die in the street.
Tomica, who called herself a "party princess" on Twitter before the accident, reached the agreement with prosecutors. "I have greatly disappointed all who know and love me as well," she said, still crying. "I did this. I did all of this."
After the collision that killed Riccioletti, a Good Samaritan, Jairo Fuentes, followed Tomica to her Collins Avenue apartment. "I did not realize at that moment that I hit a person," said Tomica. "Reality did set in pretty quickly when another driver pulled alongside of me and tried to get me to pull over, but I panicked and became terrified of what had just happened."
Ex-wife and mother to two of Riccioletti's children, Patrizia Pesce, gave pictures of her children with Riccioletti to Tomica. She gave her blessing to the plea deal and sentence. "What will you do with this opportunity?" She told Tomica in court. "Will you waste it or will you dedicate your life to improving the life of others?"
Police said that Tomica had just finished her bar-tending job at South Beach hot spot Nikki Beach. Prosecutors said her blood alcohol level was close to three times over the legal limit at the time of the crash.
The surviving members of Riccioletti's family are now suing the owners of Nikki Beach. "We've looked at the videotape," said Nikki Beach Attorney Richard Della Ferra. "We don't see any evidence of her drinking. She must have been doing it very secretively."
Tomica said she bares all the responsibility and left Riccioletti's family with this message: "I am praying for your forgiveness and hope that one day I will have it."
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