Grace Coleman will serve at least 21 years in prison following her participation in the deaths of Henry Eduardo Saldana Mejia, and his wife, Gabriela Andrade, in a drunk-driving collision. Coleman’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit when she crashed her Range Rover into the couple’s Nissan Versa.
Mejia and Andrade’s daughters suffered broken legs following the accident. During Grace’s sentencing, a family member read Elena, Emma Sofia, and Samatha’s letter to their parents: “I miss my mom and dad. I feel sad when the accident happened.”
The letter drew tears from a seemingly remorseful Grace, who met with the family to offer her apologies. “This was the first time she had been face to face with the little girls,” Jeffrey T. Roberts, the family’s lawyer, said.
Coleman’s parents were named in a wrongful death suit filed on behalf of the children
Grace Coleman’s parents, James and Kelli Coleman, have stayed away from the spotlight during their daughter’s trial. Nevertheless, they might have to pay for their daughter’s actions if a wrongful death suit filed on behalf of the children succeeds.
The suit names Grace and her parents, stating they bear some responsibility for the tragedy. Jeff Roberts explained:
“Instead of punishing the accused, this case is about taking care of the family that’s left behind. It’s about holding other people accountable that enabled her to be in the vehicle at the time.”
“She [Coleman] was living with her parents and had a previous incident where her vehicle would have been impounded, so we have no doubt that her parents [who owned the vehicle] knew about her drinking.”
Roberts claimed Grace’s parents knew about her drinking problem but failed to get her help. “This is a 22-year-old girl that had a drinking problem and instead of getting her help, she was given a Range Rover,” Roberts added.
On the night of the fatal accident, a friend drove Grace home following a period of heavy drinking. She then took the family’s Range Rover and later crashed into Mejia and his wife’s Versa. Grace fled the accident scene but didn’t get far before police arrested her.
If Coleman insisted on a trial, the judge could have convicted her to nearly 43 years in prison. Defense attorney Paul Meyer said Grace has started reforming:
“We appreciate the judge’s wisdom in balancing the very sad tragedy with Grace Coleman’s age, full acceptance of responsibility and strong rehabilitation along with her year of selfless community service while in custody.”