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Mother pleads guilty to letting son ride with drunk

She was accused of endangerment after her 6-year-old died when his father crashed their car.

June 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

VISTA, CALIF. — A woman pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of criminally endangering her young son by letting him ride in the car while her husband was driving drunk.

Rosa Carachure's 6-year-old son, Brian, died in May after being thrown from the car when his father crashed into an embankment on Interstate 15 and overturned.

The boy may not have been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, according to court testimony. Witnesses said the car was going up to 80 mph and swerving across the highway before the accident.

Carachure, whose arm was broken in the crash, told San Diego County Superior Court Judge Aaron Katz that she knew that her husband, Rodrigo Mendoza, was drunk when she put her son in the car on the way home from a swap meet.

Her two other children, a 9-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl, also were in the car but were unhurt in the crash.

Prosecutors agreed to drop two additional child endangerment counts as part of a plea agreement.

Carachure, 29, plans to ask a Juvenile Court judge for custody of her surviving children, said her attorney, Rena Wallenius. They are living with relatives.

"She is paying a heavy price for the sins of her husband," Wallenius said. "She buried a child, and she had her other children removed."

Mendoza, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment.

Prosecutors said he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21% -- the legal limit is 0.08% -- two hours after the accident. He faces up to six years in state prison when he is sentenced in July.

Carachure could be sentenced up to a year in County Jail at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 2.

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