While intoxicated, a South Florida woman crashed her vehicle and killed a police detective. Now, she will serve almost two decades behind bars.
Last month, a judge sentenced Joselyn Lopez, 34, to 16 years and four months in prison for the DUI homicide of Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Christopher Sheehan. Lopez pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, reckless driving causing serious bodily injury and DUI causing serious bodily injury.
On Aug. 20, 2016, Lopez, while intoxicated, drove her pink Dodge Challenger after a night out with friends. According to a police report, Lopez traveled at 81 mph when she crashed into a Sheehan’s 1995 Jeep Wrangler along 4600 N. State Road 7 in Coral Springs, Florida.
As a result, the Jeep’s fuel tank punctured, which caused an explosion, burning up the Jeep. The front of Lopez’s Challenger also burst into flames before it finally stopped. Fort Lauderdale Firefighter Jacob Snowhite, 41, who was Sheehan’s friend and passenger on that fateful day, was unable to pull the victim from the burning car due to the door being jammed.
"He was trying to run to the car, saying, 'That's my friend. I've got to get him out,” said Dan Pridemore who witnessed Snowhite’s frustrated unsuccessful attempt to save Sheehan from the fire at the crash site, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The 30-year-old Sheehan was declared dead at the scene. However, Snowhite survived the ordeal but suffered a spine injury, a traumatic brain injury and severe burns. Lopez sustained no injuries. The defendant claimed she drank only a single Long Island iced tea before driving the challenger.
However, Lopez was reported to have had an alcohol level of .08, which is the Florida State legal driving limit, two-and-half hours after the crash.
The seven-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department was set to be married to his childhood friend and fiancé Amanda Alois two months after the wreck.
“The last text Amanda sent her fiancé Christopher was asking him to text her when he got home to be sure he made it home safely. She never received that text,” prosecutors said in a statement, according to Coral Springs Talk.
Before the crash, Lopez had a criminal charge of battery on a paramedic and many other traffic violations. She was ordered to serve 10 years of probation after her release from prison.