Accused drunken driver: 'I will never forgive myself'

Mother, her two daughters, run down

SAN ANTONIO - The testimony was tearful and remorseful Monday in the trial of an international flight attendant who plead guilty to charges of intoxication assault and leaving the scene of an accident.


“I am haunted by it,” sobbed Julie Ann Bronson, 45, referring to the April 23, 2009, accident. “I can never forgive myself. I know that the family hates me and I hate myself."

Eighteen-month-old Ava Lopez, her mother and her 3-year-old sister were injured when Bronson’s Mercedes convertible jumped a curb and ran them down as they worked in their front yard.

All three survived but Ava Lopez has required numerous surgeries and physical therapy.

After striking the three, investigators said, Bronson continued driving and was finally stopped several miles away driving on just the rims of her tires.

She testified that she has no memory of the accident. She remembered only going to bed and later waking up in jail.

Bronson said she drank five glasses of wine that afternoon, then took two Ambien and went to bed.

She said she occasionally used Ambien, a sleep aid, to help her regulate her body clock following long international flights, but had never taken it in combination with alcohol.

Dr. Janci Lindsay, a toxicologist, testified that sleep driving and other complex behaviors are among the side effects of taking the drug.

Lindsay also noted that the combination of alcohol, Ambien and Prozac found in Bronson’s system was what she described as “a perfect storm” that resulted in the woman’s behavior.

Closing arguments and jury deliberations are set for Tuesday in the punishment phase of Bronson’s trial.

She facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison but is eligible for probation.


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