Woman accused in DUI death of friend takes plea deal

Gloria Gomez reports

-  PROPER SPELLING OF DUI VICTIM IS "KANDACE TAPIA"

Defendant Karen Juarez raised her right hand and agreed to a plea deal that will put her in jail for the next four years. She plead guilty to DUI manslaughter.

In 2015, Hillsborough Assistant State Prosecutor Barbara Coleman says Juarez drove drunk on Interstate 275, lost control of her vehicle which then overturned and crashed into the outside barrier wall.

Juarez's passenger, 24-year-old Kandace Tapia died in the crash. Tapia was the mother of four children. Her mother, Betty Reid endured many delays in the case, often through tears.

Thursday, she seemed relieved. 

"I'm happy with the way it came out. I'm glad it's over with," explained Reid.

As part of the plea deal, Juarez will also serve 10 years probation, which means no driving, no drinking and no going out to bars or clubs, which may be a challenge for her. 

Earlier this year, she was photographed at a bar with a drink in her hand, which violated the conditions of her bond. The Judge had her re-arrested on the spot.

Betty Reid believes - once a party girl, always a party girl.

"Because she can't stop drinking and staying out of the clubs, to be honest with you, and I know she's not going to do it," said Reid.

If she doesn't, she'll go right back to prison where she's already spending the next four years.

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