Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paralyzed Girl’s Letter to Drunk Driver Brings Jury to Tears

Chilli in her wheelchair. Vasquez family photo.

Last summer, 9-year-old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez was paralyzed from the chest down after a drunk driver collided head-on with the car she was riding in. The driver, Jeremy Solis, pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxication assault. At his sentencing last week, Vasquez read a letter she wrote to Solis. Before she was through reading, everyone in the Fort Worth courtroom, including Solis himself, was in tears. In the letter , which can be read below in its entirety, Vasquez wrote about how a simple trip to the mall with her sisters turned into a day that would change her life forever. She talks about the difficulty she’s had recovering, and how she’s had to relearn simple tasks such as dressing herself. ”Look at what I said and the words I said and tell me how I look and feel. How do you feel today? Do you remember July 9th?” Vasquez asks Solis.

At the time of the collision, authorities say Solis had a blood alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit. Solis was not injured. Vasquez’s aunt, who was driving the vehicle, suffered a fractured neck and broken leg. Also in the car were Vasquez’s two sisters and a cousin.

Solis was sentenced to ten years in prison and will be eligible for parole in five.


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