In the summer of 2011, then 7-year-old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez was left paralyzed from the chest down in an accident involving a drunk driver. In July, Chilli and her sister were riding in a car with their aunt to a mall to get their nails and hair done, according to news reports. It was during this trip that the aunt’s car was struck by a car driven by Jeremy Solis, who was found to be intoxicated. The vehicle driven by Solis had been stolen in Fort Worth. He was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit.
Recently, Solis was in court for sentencing. It was during this court hearing that jurors heard what Chilli had written in a letter to Solis about her experiences since she had become paralyzed. The jury, those present in the courtroom and even Solis were left in tears after Chilli’s mother read the 4-page letter, which talked about her experiences in the hospital, how she would cry because she couldn’t do things she used to do, how she had to use her thumb to answer questions because she could not talk. One question Chilli had written in the letter was, “Look at what I said and the words I said and tell me how I look and feel. How do you feel today? Do you remember July 9th?”
Solis was charged with intoxication assault (two counts) and pleaded guilty to the charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and according to news reports will be eligible for parole in 5 years. Prosecutor Allenna Bangs stated that there were no restitution charges, and that Solis is 21 years old and has no criminal history.
Chilli told ABC News that she plans to send more letters to Solis while he is serving his sentence, and that she hopes he will respond to the letter that was read in court. She said she hopes he will apologize, that it will “make me happy if he says he is sorry.”
Even for Dallas personal injury lawyers who see tragedy every day, this is an extremely sad and unfortunate story. The victim in this case, who is now 9 years old, is strong-willed and determined to walk again one day. Hopefully Solis will have time to think about his actions while serving his sentence, and won’t repeat the same mistake.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver or other act of negligence, contact an experienced and capable Dallas personal injury attorney.