3 Boys 'Paid the Ultimate Price' for Mom's Addiction

Leticia Gonzales of Michigan to serve up to 5 years for DUI crash that killed her young sons
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 26, 2023 10:50 AM CDT
3 Boys 'Paid the Ultimate Price' for Mom's Addiction
Leticia Gonzales.   (Ottawa County Sheriff's Office)

A western Michigan woman was sentenced to up to five years in prison Monday for a crash in which her three young sons drowned after her SUV plunged into an ice-covered pond, per the AP. Leticia Gonzales, 31, had pleaded no contest in August to operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and three misdemeanor charges of a moving violation causing death. An Ottawa County judge sentenced the Holland-area woman to a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years after Gonzales told the court she's been living with survivor's guilt since her sons' deaths, WOOD reports. "I lost everything I ever needed and I hate myself so much. I've been sentenced to life without them for the rest of my life, so I'm asking for forgiveness," she said.

Ottawa County police said Gonzales was driving her sport utility vehicle on Feb. 17, 2022, when she veered off the side of a Holland Township road, jumped a curb, and rolled into an ice-covered retention pond. Her sons, Jerome III, 4, Jeremiah, 3, and Josiah, 1, drowned while strapped into child-restraint seats. Gonzales escaped with minor injuries. Police allege she was impaired by two doses of methadone, a medication used to treat drug addiction and offer pain relief, and said she'd taken that medication the morning of the fatal crash. Circuit Court Judge Jon Hulsing said that while Gonzales feels remorse, "this is not a one-time situation that you succumbed to pressures, and desires to use drugs. Rather, this seems to be a pattern and, unfortunately, your children paid the ultimate price for that."

(More driving while intoxicated stories.)

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