COURTS

Former UM student begins 3-year sentence in DUI death

 
 
Ivanna Villanueva failed an initial drug test when she turned herself in to begin a 3-year prison term for driving drunk and killing a 68-year-old woman. But a toxicology report Wednesday indicated Villanueva had only taken a prescribed medication.
Ivanna Villanueva failed an initial drug test when she turned herself in to begin a 3-year prison term for driving drunk and killing a 68-year-old woman. But a toxicology report Wednesday indicated Villanueva had only taken a prescribed medication.
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

gcherelus@miamiherald.com

A 21-year-old former University of Miami student began serving a three-year sentence Wednesday for DUI manslaughter and vehicle manslaughter.

Ivanna Villanueva turned herself in to Miami-Dade authorities Tuesday, but a required drug test came back positive for a banned substance.

On Wednesday, her doctor provided proof that Villanueva had been prescribed Vyvanse, for her Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition she was diagnosed with a few years ago.

“The medications that are used to treat ADHD are all stimulants, so she was absolutely not taking anything illegal,” said Margot Moss, one of Villanueva’s attorneys.

If it had been found she had been taking an illegal substance, Villanueva could have had an additional 15 years tacked onto her sentence.

Villanueva accepted a plea deal last month for driving drunk and causing the death of Eyder Ayala, a 68-year-old mother of five and grandmother of seven.

Villanueva was heading home after partying and drinking the night of Oct. 2, 2011, when she rear-ended Ayala’s car in Coral Gables.

According to police reports, Villanueva was driving her 2011 Audi Q5 more than 80 mph when she hit Ayala’s Ford Focus at the intersection of LeJeune Road and Majorca Avenue.

Villanueva told Coral Gables police that Ayala’s car had stopped in front of her and that she was unable to stop quickly enough.

Investigators found that Villanueva’s blood alcohol level was .231, three times the legal limit.

Ayala died at the scene.

“We just miss our grandmother very much,” Bernadette Sadeek, 23, Ayala’s granddaughter, said at Wednesday’s hearing. “It’s a sad thing for both families and our road to recovery continues for both families.”

In addition to three years in prison, Villanueva faces 15 years probation and must complete more than 1,000 hours of community service and speak to young adults about the dangers of drunk driving. She will also be required to make donations to Mothers Against Drunk Driving every year on the anniversary of Ayala’s death.

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