Crime

‘I wish it was me’: Driver sentenced in Paso DUI crash that killed Los Osos woman

Family members of 26-year-old Los Osos resident Lindsay Matzie told the woman who killed her while driving drunk that she had “devastated” their family and that Matzie’s twin will forever be haunted by the loss of her sister on the birthday they shared.

“I have no sympathy for you, only contempt,” Matzie’s grandmother told Lauren Allysa Alderete of Paso Robles in court Tuesday.

Alderete, 23, will serve eight years in the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.

Matzie was killed and her two passengers were seriously injured in an early-morning crash on Dec. 16, 2015, in the southbound lane of Highway 101 near the Spring Street off-ramp. According to the California Highway Patrol, Alderete, who had a blood alcohol level of 0.15, entered the highway driving north and collided head-on with Matzie’s Toyota sedan.

Matzie was pronounced dead at the scene. The 2007 Morro Bay High School graduate was described by friends and a former employer as a caring young woman who “exuded” compassion, most prominently at her job at the Med Stop Urgent Care Center in San Luis Obispo.

Alderete also suffered major injuries in the crash, and the criminal case had been postponed until she recovered enough to attend hearings. Her recovery is ongoing, her attorney said in court Tuesday.

She originally pleaded not guilty but changed her plea in early December, pleading no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter. Two charges related to driving under the influence were dismissed.

Before the sentence was delivered Tuesday, Superior Court Judge John Trice allowed Matzie’s family to make statements.

“Never in my life have I felt so much anger to another human being,” Karen Cresswell, Matzie’s aunt, told Alderete. “Your decision to drink and drive stole from us a smart, beautiful, silly person who cared so much for her friends and family.”

“When I think of her last few minutes, it breaks my heart,” Kathleen Kaplan, Matzie’s grandmother, said. “I can only imagine the terror she felt when she saw your headlights.”

Matzie’s mother, Brenda Dubby, told Alderete through tears that Matzie’s twin sister, Lacey, has not attended any of the court hearings because she only wants to keep positive memories of her sister. Matzie’s death has been especially hard on the family during the sisters’ birthday, Dubby said.

Alderete, who remains in a wheelchair, sat with her family quietly wiping away tears as she listened to the family.

“I’m so sorry that I made such a profound mistake that night. ... I wish it was me, not her,” she said.

Addressing Matzie’s two passengers, she said that every night, she prays their “bodies will recover,” and she apologized to her own family who she said has had to “manage this tragedy.”

“I hope you will all find it in your hearts to forgive me one day,” she said. “Your families are always in my thoughts.”

Alderete said she plans to use her conviction to spread awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Frye told Trice prior to the sentence being read that Alderete had no criminal record and “was willing to plead and take responsibility from the very beginning.”

Trice said he’s presided over several vehicular manslaughter cases, but “this one really struck the community.”

“I can’t imagine doing what you folks did here today,” Trice said to both parties. “I just hope someday there can be healing for both families.”

Alderete is to begin serving her sentence following the first of four upcoming surgeries related to injuries she suffered in the crash.

A personal injury lawsuit filed by one of Matzie’s passengers remains ongoing and is scheduled for a case hearing in March.

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