The night Ervens Prudent got drunk at a friend’s wedding in Coral Gables, he never meant to kill two people in a fiery car crash, the judge acknowledged.
“But he acted completely irresponsibly, with complete disregard for the safety of others and himself,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Miguel de la O said during Prudent’s sentencing hearing on Monday.
“You had many choices that night. You could have taken a cab. You could have called Uber. You were surrounded by friends at this wedding. You could have asked any of them to take you home.”
With that, the judge sentenced Prudent to 22 years in prison, to be followed by eight years of probation, for the June 2013 crash that killed Maria Martinez and Marlon Gutierrez.
Prudent, a DJ, musician and former college student, had faced between 20 and 30 years in prison under Florida’s sentencing guidelines.
Jurors in October convicted Prudent, 29, of two counts of DUI manslaughter. On the night of the crash, Prudent was at a friend’s wedding at the Coral Gables Country Club. During the trial, Prudent testified he drank only a vodka-and-sprite and two champagne toasts – and was not impaired as he left the wedding reception.
“His actions were criminal,” said prosecutor Denise Georges.
Prudent claimed he fell asleep at the wheel and didn’t remember the crash. But the video footage showed him zooming down Eighth Street without ever losing control of the car, even passing up a slow-driving car before plowing full speed into Martinez and Gutierrez. Their car was stopped at a red light.
“I have watched that video tape crash more times than I care to remember,” Judge de la O said. “Mr. Prudent you were in complete control of your car in the seconds before the accident ... he could not have been asleep at the time of the crash.”
Also, Prudent’s blood-alcohol-content level was at .115, well above the limit of .08.