EL MONTE COURTHOUSE — The woman who plead guilty to killing a Santa Monica middle school student while driving drunk was sentenced Friday to 19 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Tina Marie Silva, 29, of Hacienda Heights, plead guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death, both of which are felonies, said Sandy Gibbons, spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office.
The sentence was reached as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. Silva will return to court on May 2 to determine how much money she will pay in restitution to the surviving victims.
Prosecutors said Silva ran her car into Maximillion Petrakos, a 13-year-old student at Lincoln Middle School, and his mother, Mary Hively, as they were standing outside their vehicle, which was stopped on the side of the road.
Family members were upset with what they considered an insufficient punishment, and created an online petition that had garnered 729 signatures in support of a life sentence as of Friday afternoon.
The judge acknowledged that the crime was “heinous,” but went with the shorter term, said Brenda Petrakos, Maximillion’s aunt. Family members are considering the option to take Silva back to court on civil charges.
“It depends how much time it will take,” Petrakos said, citing limited resources and a need to rely on free or inexpensive attorneys. “We need to let the dust settle on this.”
Family members have been waiting for justice since the collision occurred nearly nine months ago.
Petrakos was outside of his family’s Toyota Corolla with his mother when a car slammed into them, killing Petrakos and severely injuring Hively and his younger brother, Alex Petrakos.
The family pulled over to the side of Highway 60 at 12:40 a.m. on June 3, 2012, possibly because of engine trouble. They were making their way back from a Los Angeles Angels baseball game when Silva, who was on her way home from a graduation party, hit them. She then backed the car up and drove away, prosecutors said.
Hively’s injuries, which included a fractured pelvis, spine and ribs, caused her to lose her memory. She no longer knows why she pulled over.
The sleeping boy in the car also sustained injuries, including a fractured cheekbone, according to prosecutors.
Silva was arrested an hour later by California Highway Patrol officers, and was charged by the District Attorney’s Office two days after the crash. She has remained in custody on $1.2 million bail.
This is Silva’s second conviction of driving under the influence, although she was not found to have exceeded the legal maximum of .08 blood alcohol content in her 2009 offense.