TAMPA, Fla. - Two years after a drunk-driving crash killed the Felipek family, defendant Amber Perera learned her fate.
Hillsborough Judge Christopher Sabella took the bench as a packed courtroom hung on his every word. He reminded Perera of a jailhouse comment she made about her life being ruined. "Yes ma'am, your life is ruined. But you also ruined a lot of lives and ended three lives."
It was two years ago when Amber Perera was driving drunk on the Selmon Expressway and slammed into the Felipek family. The crash killed Luiz, Rita and their 8-year-old daughter Giorgia Felipek.
Perera claimed she had a seizure. Prosecutors said she was drunk.
Last Friday, Rita's father Michael Ciranni did not hold back his rage. He said it was becoming emotionally too much, as he walked off the witness stand without finishing. "I need to leave," said Ciranni.
Tracy Kelly was driving the third vehicle involved in the deadly crash. She survived, but her life as she knew it was over. The crash left her with a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Prosecutors asked the judge to throw Perera in jail for life; the defense wanted 20 years. Judge Sabella slapped her with 50 years in prison, which is pretty much a life sentence.
The sentence Tuesday proved to be the kind of closure Tracy Kelly needed. "Knowing that she has lost her life, and knowing that she will spend her days in pain, just her not being happy every day, brings joy to me," explained Kelly.