DUI Victim 'Wanted to Make a Difference'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Driver Sunny Hall was sentenced to nine years in prison for driving drunk along Interstate 8 and killing a UC San Diego student and an El Centro teacher. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian has details. (Published Monday, Mar 3, 2014)

    Monday was an emotional day inside an El Cajon courtroom.

    Sunny Hall was sentenced to nine years in prison.

    I-8 Crash Victim Days From Graduation

    [DGO] I-8 Crash Victim Days From Graduation
    The mother of Angela August, a 25-year-old who died in a car accident on June 11, spoke to NBCSanDiego about the tragedy of losing her daughter. (Published Monday, Jun 11, 2012)

    Hall admitted to crashing her car along Interstate 8, killing a UC San Diego student just days before her graduation and an El Centro teacher who pulled over to help.

    One victim’s family says Hall’s sentence isn’t enough.

    "She (Hall) still has the opportunity because she's alive. The people that she plowed down don't have the opportunity to do anything, and they were valuable people," said Dawn August, the mother of college student Angela August.

    On Monday, at least 30 of Angela's family and friends filled the courtroom, each wearing a button that said, “For Love of Angela.”

    On June 11, 2012, Angela rolled her car on Interstate 8 west of Tavern Road. Jimmy Arevalo, a teacher from El Centro, pulled over to help.

    That's when Hall, driving over 70 mph, crashed her car into Angela's, killing both she and Arevalo. Hall had a blood alcohol level about twice the legal limit.

    Instead of throwing a graduation party, Angela’s mother had to plan a funeral.

    “I had to pick out her clothes to be buried in. I picked out her favorite green dress, and she was buried in her honor sash from UCSD. She also had her pre-engagement ring before the casket was closed," she said.

    Angela's family said the 25-year-old was planning to become a teacher.

    “She lost the potential to contribute to society, and I assure you she had much to offer. She always said she wanted to help people and wanted to make a difference,” Dawn August said.

    Hall read a prepared statement during Monday's sentencing, stopping several times to choke back tears. The statement read, in part:

    ...I am not a monster. I am a woman who made a terrible mistake, and I struggle each and every day to find a way to live with what I have done.

    Hall said she wanted to become an addiction counselor when her sentence is complete.

    Before Hall was escorted from the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies, she looked back at the August family and apologized. The family says they do not believe she was sincere and are still heartbroken by the loss of Angela.

    “I go usually every two or three days to the grave, and I’ve grown flowers. That’s what’s soothing for me,” Russ August, Angela’s father, said through tears.