Tampa man who claimed he wasn't driving during deadly crash sentenced to 20 years

Prosecutors say gas station surveillance shows Jeremy Guerrero getting into the driver’s seat of a car that later crashed, killing 57-year-old Maria Perez on Interstate 75 in November 2019.

They say Guerrero was high on meth when he plowed into Perez's vehicle. 

Last year a jury deadlocked on a verdict. 

During a new trial in July, when asked if he was driving the vehicle when it crashed, he responded, "Hell no."

That jury convicted Guerrero of DUI manslaughter and drug possession

MORE: Tampa judge scolds defendant for gesturing, outbursts during retrial for crash that killed mother of five

This week, he's being sentenced and Perez’s family would have their say at his hearing. The victim's daughter, Yanselli Brown spoke first.

"This individual, on this particular day, has the privilege to look back at his mother. I was robbed of that because of his reckless lifestyle," she sobbed.

Brown's brother, Saladier Ayala, said his mother's death has left him broken and fragile.

57-year-old Maria Perez, a mother of 5, was killed in a crash in 2019

"I’m lost now. I’m lost. When she died, I had a heart attack," Ayala told the court.

Guerrero's mother, Criselda Zuniga, was also given the chance to speak on her son's behalf. 

"First of all, I want to apologize to the family for what you’re going through because my son was in the car. But my son was not the driver," she proclaimed.

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 Guerrero continued to say he did nothing wrong.

"I made sure that help was on the way. I stayed. I answer questions. I gave blood. I endured hatred and humiliation," he complained. 

But Tampa Judge Michael Williams set the record straight.

"Mr. Guerrero, you’ve had a long and lengthy criminal history. You were intoxicated with methamphetamines that day. You were driving recklessly and had no regard for life that day," stated Williams.

And for that, he sentenced Guerrero to 20 years in prison; plenty of time to think about the lifetime of anguish he caused his victim's family.

Following his prison sentence, Guerrero will serve 10 years of probation. He will also have his driver license permanently revoked.

Note: A reference to Guerrero being "drunk" when the deadly crash occurred has been removed since the original publish date.