Woman who struck and killed UM students found guilty - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Woman who struck and killed UM students found guilty

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Milady Pequeno Milady Pequeno

MIAMI (WSVN) -- The South Florida driver accused of running down and killing two University of Miami students was found guilty, in traffic court, of careless driving.

The traffic court judge made his decision Wednesday evening, which will mean Milady Pequeno will have her driver's license suspended for some time, though she will not have to serve any jail time.

Pequeno did not dispute that she was behind the wheel on Oct. 16, 2013 when she hit and killed two University of Miami students, Hao Liu and Ying Chen, and prosecutors never labeled the crash as criminal.

In a Miami-Dade county courtroom, Pequeno fought to have two citations tied to the accident removed. "God only knows if I would have seen those two kids ... I would have done something to not hit them," said Pequeno. "'Cause it was horrible. 'Cause you don't want to hit anyone. Has anyone in this courtroom, your Honour, want to hit someone on the street? No."

Pequeno said she was driving slowly in her Porsche with her mother and grandson in Pinecrest on Kendall Drive just east of US 1. According to investigators, they believe Pequeno was driving about 21 miles per hour.

No matter how slow, Pequeno said, she never saw the two UM students who were from China and seeking doctorate degrees. "I'm not a criminal," said Pequeno. "I'm a mother and a grandmother, and I've dedicated my life to my son. I'm sorry if I get like this, but it's very hard."

Pequeno broke down in tears while listening to one of the victim's grandparents in a voice call in court. "We are hopeless. We are having nothing of the rest of our lives," said a man who was translating the call.

Prosecutors wondered how Pequeno never saw the students and contended that a one foot reactionary swerve would have saved the students lives. "She did not hit her brakes at the time of the accident," said a prosecutor.

The judge eliminated one citation, but upheld the other citation and charged Pequeno with careless driving. "To cause an actual green paint from a purse to have been transferred onto the paint of the car, is a lot of force," said the judge.

Pequeno will not be going to jail for the traffic crash. The judge increased her license suspension from six months to two years. When asked to comment outside the courtroom, Pequeno said nothing.


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