LANCASTER – A 29-year-old woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a Lancaster woman and critically injured the woman’s husband.
Jodi Lynn Biers was sentenced in an Antelope Valley courtroom Friday morning, about one month after she pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving with a .08 blood alcohol level and causing injury.
The convictions stem from an early morning crash on March 13, 2012 that killed 42-year-old Angelica Goins-Jones and critically injured Patrick Jones.
Authorities said Biers’ blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit when her pickup truck ran a red light at the intersection of 10th Street West and Avenue L and slammed into the couple’s vehicle.
Angelica died on impact, and Patrick spent the next month on life support at Antelope Valley Hospital before he started a slow recovery, according to family members.
Biers was originally ordered to stand trial for murder and three DUI-related felonies in connection with the crash, but the murder charge was dismissed after Biers reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Angelica’s father allowed the plea agreement because he did not want to ruin Biers’ life, according to family members.
Several of those family members packed the courtroom for the emotional sentencing hearing Friday morning. Angelica’s sister-in-law, Nicole Jones, read a victim impact statement on behalf of Patrick Jones and the couple’s daughter, Taylor.
Angelica was a loving person who would have wanted the family to forgive Biers, Nicole Jones explained.
“Jodi we do forgive you and pray that Jehovah wraps his arms around you and gives you the peace that he’s given us,” Nicole Jones said.
Biers also addressed the court, saying she could never adequately express the remorse she felt for the pain she’d caused the family.
“If I could bear this burden alone I would,” Biers said, speaking directly to Angelica’s family members.
Biers said she had been sharing her story while in county lockup and hoped to continue to share her story so that others would not make the same mistake.
“I will do whatever I can to continue helping people,” Biers said.
“I just hope she does realize that she has been given the second chance that Angie will never have, and I hope she learns from it and becomes a better person,” Nicole Jones said after the hearing.
Angelica’s cousin, Rochelle Smith, said she has been writing Biers twice a month since August as a way of letting go of her anger. After months of communicating with Biers, Smith said she was ready to forgive.
“God is a forgiving God and I can’t get my blessings if I hold on to hate,” Smith said. “Angie had no malice in her heart for anyone.”
The two families shared tearful hugs outside of the courtroom. Biers’ father, Dallas, distributed a handwritten poem from his daughter to the Goins-Jones family.
“I’m so glad this is over, because now everyone can move on with their lives and heal,” said Angelica’s close friend, Carolyn Clayborn Guice.
Updated: Biers was given credit for 463 days in custody (403 days actual custody and 60 days good time/work time.)
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