Crime

Positive pot test derails plea deal for woman who maimed Miami principal in DUI crash

Marilyn Aguilera, accused of maiming a South Dade High principal in a DUI crash, was taken into custody Wednesday after she tested positive for marijuana. She is pictured here during a hearing in July, alongside attorney Ana Davide, left.
Marilyn Aguilera, accused of maiming a South Dade High principal in a DUI crash, was taken into custody Wednesday after she tested positive for marijuana. She is pictured here during a hearing in July, alongside attorney Ana Davide, left. cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com

After months of waffling, the woman who maimed a popular South Dade High principal in a drunken car crash was ready to accept seven years in prison.

Then things went up in smoke.

Just minutes before she was to take a plea deal on Wednesday, Marilyn Aguilera tested positive for marijuana, which spurred a judge to call off the arrangement and order her re-arrested for violating the conditions of her release from jail.

Now, she’ll sit in jail without knowing her fate, at least until Dec. 11. That’s when lawyers convene again to decide if she can still take the plea — or will be forced to go to trial.

“She’s been under a lot of stress and taking a lot of medication. In order to make today go a little bit better for her, she chose to smoke marijuana, which was a terrible decision,” said her lawyer, Ana Davide.

It was one more drama in the tortured legal case against Aguilera, who more than a year ago plowed her SUV into a West Miami-Dade baseball field. The SUV rammed principal Javier Perez as he coached his son’s little-league championship game, trapping him underneath.

MHWRESTLE14
South Dade principal Javier Perez shows his wrist band while watching one of the school's championship matches earlier this year. Perez lost his legs when a suspected drunk driver plowed into him at a baseball field. Phelan M. Ebenhack For the Herald

Aguilera smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests. A large open can of Budweiser beer was on the floorboard. Blood tests later showed she was drunk by nearly triple the legal limit.

Perez’s near-death encounter — he lost his legs after nearly losing his life — stunned witnesses and students who knew him for his affable nature, signature bow ties and love of sports. Days after the crash, students held a candlelight vigil to support him while Internet and other events helped raise money for his medical bills.

In the months after the crash, he became an inspirational figure after undergoing more than 100 blood transfusions and 20 surgeries, vowing to one day walk back into South Dade High, on prosthetic limbs. He also spoke at a trauma-awareness event at Kendall Regional Medical Center, where doctors saved his life.

This wasn’t Aguilera’s first time aggravating the judge. In July, Aguilera appeared in court and said she was willing to accept four years in prison, followed by probation. But Aguilera arrived hours late to court, and began to cry while vacillating over the deal.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward warned her to “act like a grownup,” then called off the plea deal when Aguilera began to complain she did not have enough time to consider the deal. Aguilera returned Wednesday, insisting she wanted to do more prison time in exchange for no probation. After some haggling, prosecutor Laura Adams agreed to the seven years, saying Perez and his family were fine with the decision.

“They’re in agreement. They want this over,” Adams said.

It’ll have to wait, at least for a few more weeks.

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