Orange County drunk driver who killed a pregnant woman has been sentenced to 15 years to life

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Orange County drunk driver who killed a pregnant woman has been sentenced to 15 years to life

California Politics

Hannah Wiley

April 13, 2024

An Orange County driver who pleaded guilty to fatally striking a pregnant woman while driving under the influence of a cocktail of drugs in 2020 was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office said 44-year-old Courtney Fritz Pandolfi had multiple drunk driving convictions when she got behind the wheel on August 11, 2020.


while high on a combination of drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, fatally striking 23-year-old Yesenia Aguilar.

DUI driver who killed pregnant woman pleads guilty. Emergency C-section rescued baby

Aguilar was eight months pregnant and walking with her husband in Anaheim when Pandolfi jumped the sidewalk in her Jeep SUV.


crashed into a metal newsstand before barreling toward the couple and hitting Aguilar.

Prosecutors said Pandolfi continued driving

to an extra

100 meters without braking in front of her jeep



The baby, Adalyn Rose, was delivered alive via emergency C-section.

A beautiful little girl came into this world and fought like hell to survive the tragedy that took her own mother’s life, and the strength that little girl showed gave her own father the will to live, Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said in a statement.

“Adalyn Rose’s first breath will forever be inextricably intertwined with her mother’s last breath

Spitzer continued,

But that little girl will grow up knowing that her mother’s last act on earth was to do everything she could to protect her unborn baby.”

Pandolfi, of Garden Grove, pleaded guilty

before her trial

in February for murder and several other charges, including misdemeanor driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily harm and two misdemeanor counts of driving with a suspended license. Some counts came from

Pandolf loads of

driving under the influence of drugs in November 2019.

Pandolfi had also been convicted of driving under the influence in 2008, 2015 and 2016, prosecutors said.


Each time she was given legal warnings that she could be charged with murder if she did so

continued killing

someone who drives under the influence.

My client today accomplished what she set out to do, which was to spare the family the additional heartache and grief of a trial, said Pandolfi’s attorney Fred Fascenelli.

in February

when she pleaded guilty

in February

. She acknowledges that it was a tragic situation of her own making.

Aguilar’s widower, James Alvarez, posted a video of him on social media


leaving the courtroom with his daughter, now 3, after the sentencing. He wrote that after “the toughest three years that


had to endure,” it was “finally over.”

“I can finally close this chapter of my life

. “Alvarez wrote on Instagram.”

My late wife’s murderer finally received the maximum sentence. Even though fifteen years to life is not enough, I can finally breathe after fighting for so long for the justice we deserve.

…My fight is not over yet



will continue to fight to make sure she never gets out

.”, Alvarez wrote on Instagram. He continued:

“I was given a second chance at life because I could have died too

…but I didn’t

so I’m going to use this second chance to do good in this world.

I’m going [to be] the voice and power of every person who has lost a loved one due to the selfish actions of someone else.”


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