A new dad in Anaheim, California is finally bringing his newborn daughter home after her mother was killed by an impaired driver. Yesenia Aguilar, 23, was pregnant when she was struck by a drunk driver and killed. Now, weeks after the incident, baby Adalyn Rose is finally going home with her dad.
Meanwhile, the woman responsible for the accident is facing harsh charges.
Aguilar was 35 weeks pregnant with her daughter, Adalyn Rose, when the accident happened on Tuesday, August 11. The expectant mom was walking with her husband, James Alvarez, blocks away from Disneyland, where she worked.
It was then that a Jeep SUV drove onto the sidewalk, missing Alvarez but hitting Aguilar. She was immediately rushed to the UCI Medical Center in Orange, where she was pronounced dead.
Doctors were able to deliver baby Adalyn Rose by c-section. They then admitted the newborn to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit in critical condition.
A History of DUIs
Meanwhile, the Jeep’s driver, 40-year-old Courtney Pandolfi, was taken to the same hospital for minor injuries. Upon her release, police arrested her for vehicular manslaughter, felony driving under the influence, and driving under a suspended license. A police report noted that Pandolfi had two previous DUI arrests, which may qualify the act as murder.
That note came to fruition on Wednesday, August 12. Authorities upgraded Pandolfi’s charges to include murder and driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury in addition to the initial suspended license charge. If convicted on all charges, she faces life imprisonment.
“This was 100 percent preventable. This woman knew the consequences of driving under the influence and she did it anyway,” Orange County D.A. Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
Honoring the Memory Of Yesenia Aguilar
Following Aguilar’s death, friends and co-workers gathered at a vigil to honor her memory.
“She struggled to have a baby,” one co-worker said. “I remember when she told me she was pregnant, we were all excited for her. We were looking forward to seeing this new baby arrive.”
The Disneyland resort also reached out with a message of support for Aguilar’s family.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our cast member Yesenia Aguilar and we offer our deepest condolences to her family, friends and loved ones,” a spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, baby Adalyn Rose remained in critical condition for weeks. However, her father stuck by her side, telling KTLA 5 that his daughter recognized his voice.
“When I would talk to her, she recognized me,” he said. “One thing that I used to do all the time is speak to her through the womb. Every morning before I went to work, and when I came home, that was the first thing.”
Adalyn Rose was finally released from UCI Medical Center on Monday, August 31. Alvarez celebrated his daughter’s homecoming with an Instagram post thanking friends and family for support.
“I’m going to make my wife proud and show her [what] I can do as a single father,” he said. “With the help of friends and family, there’s nothing I can’t handle now!”
Aguilar’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help cover medical and funeral expenses.