Stephanie Melgoza is a 24-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to killing two people in a drunk driving accident in East Peoria, Illinois, in April 2022. She was sentenced to 14 years in prison in April 2023. In this article, we will explore the latest updates on her case, the impact of her actions on the victims’ families and the community, and the lives of the people she took away.
Stephanie Melgoza’s Sentencing for Fatal DUI Crash
On April 10, 2022, Melgoza was driving under the influence of alcohol and cannabis when she struck and killed Andrea Rosewicz, 43, and Paul Prowant, 55, outside the Throttle Bar and Grill on an East Peoria access road off North Main Street. She had an open bottle of Tito’s vodka in her car and admitted to having three vodka drinks before getting behind the wheel. She also said she was speeding about 10 miles over the posted limit.
Melgoza was arrested at the scene and charged with four felonies, including two counts of aggravated DUI death and two counts of aggravated reckless driving. She was a senior at Bradley University at the time of the crash and was banned from walking at her graduation after an outcry from the student body. She received her degree but was not allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony.
On February 16, 2023, Melgoza entered a “blind” plea, or one without any agreement, to the four charges against her. She faced a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison. On April 27, 2023, she was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Judge Katherine Gorman. She must serve at least 85% of her sentence, which means she will be eligible for parole in about 11 years and 10 months. She will also have to pay restitution to the victims’ families.
Latest Updates on the Case
Melgoza’s sentencing was met with mixed reactions from the victims’ families, the community, and the public. Some felt that the sentence was too lenient and did not reflect the gravity of her crime. Others felt that the sentence was fair and that Melgoza deserved a chance to redeem herself.
The families of Rosewicz and Prowant expressed their grief and anger in court and asked for the maximum sentence for Melgoza. They said that Melgoza showed no remorse and had no regard for the lives she took away. They also said that Melgoza destroyed multiple families with her selfishness and that they will never forgive her.
The community of East Peoria was also shaken by the tragedy and held a vigil for the victims shortly after the crash. They said that the crash was a wake-up call for the dangers of drunk driving and that they hoped that Melgoza would learn from her mistake and change her life for the better.
The public also had strong opinions about the case, especially after a video of Melgoza laughing and singing after the crash was released by the police. The video showed Melgoza struggling to follow the officers’ directions and failing a sobriety test. She also asked an officer if she could get her car back in time to make it to school the next day, to which the officer replied, “You’re going to jail, you killed two people tonight. I don’t think you understand that.”
The video sparked outrage and criticism online, with many people calling Melgoza a “monster” and a “sociopath” who deserved a harsher punishment. Some people also harassed and threatened Melgoza’s family, who asked for the online trolls to leave them alone. Melgoza’s father, Patrick O’Brian, said that his daughter did a horrible thing and will pay for it for the next 14 years of her life, but the rest of his family did nothing.
Melgoza herself apologized to the victims’ families in court and said that she will live with the guilt and regret every day. She said that she was sorry for what she did and that she will try to live for all of them. She also said that she hoped that the families would find peace and healing.
Remembering the Victims
Andrea Rosewicz and Paul Prowant were two innocent people who lost their lives in a senseless and preventable accident. They were both visiting East Peoria for a business trip and were staying at a nearby hotel. They decided to go out for a drink at the Throttle Bar and Grill, where they met and became friends. They were walking back to their hotel when they were hit by Melgoza’s car.
Rosewicz was a 43-year-old woman from Seattle, Washington, who worked as a project manager for a software company. She was married and had two children, aged 12 and 15. She was described by her family and friends as a loving, caring, and generous person who enjoyed traveling, hiking, and spending time with her loved ones.
Prowant was a 55-year-old man from Avon Lake, Ohio, who worked as a sales manager for a manufacturing company. He was divorced and had three children, aged 18, 21, and 23. He was described by his family and friends as a fun, outgoing, and adventurous person who loved sports, music, and motorcycles.
Both Rosewicz and Prowant left behind a legacy of love, joy, and kindness that will never be forgotten by those who knew them. They also left behind a void that will never be filled by those who miss them.
Stephanie Melgoza is a woman who made a terrible mistake that cost the lives of two people and changed the lives of many others. She is now serving a 14-year prison sentence for her crime and has expressed her sorrow and remorse. However, her apology and punishment will never bring back the victims or heal the wounds of their families. The case of Stephanie Melgoza is a tragic reminder of the consequences of drunk driving and the importance of making responsible choices.