The mother of Shauna Ripley, 29, said her daughter had worked all day and was “half asleep” when she drove the wrong way onto Highway 151 last Friday and killed Jorge Badillo Jr., 31.
Badillo (pictured) was on his way to work shortly before 4 a.m. when his car was hit, head-on, near the Callaghan Road exit. Police said Ripley had been traveling in the wrong direction on the east side of the highway.
Monday, they concluded that she also was drunk at the time of the crash, by arresting her on a charge of intoxication manslaughter. Ripley, who was critically injured, remains hospitalized.
At her home Tuesday morning, Ripley’s mother said her daughter was on her way home from a nightclub where she worked as a promotional model when she crashed.
"She had just worked 19 hours,” said Glenda Henninger. “She was half asleep and she turned up the wrong way on the highway."
Henninger described her daughter as a good person, and a single mother of three who works four jobs to make ends meet.
The description clashes with comments posted to Ripley’s fan page on Facebook in the wake of the crash.
In one comment, a poster tells Ripley that “drinking/driving doesn’t bother you.” Other people posted messages wishing her harm, and telling her that she must pay for what she has done.
“She's not the person that they're portraying her to be,” Henninger said. “I'm really sorry for what happened. My heart goes out to (Badillo’s family). I wish I could go back and change things."
Henninger said because of her injuries, Ripley is still unaware of the online firestorm that has erupted.
Posts on her Twitter page, however, suggest that Ripley had been troubled even before the crash.
Four days before the deadly collision, Ripley posted that she was “at home… and I’m gonna drink until I go numb.”
Ironically, in another post two days before that, she said, “Sadly, we often don't think before we act. When we choose the action, we also choose the consequence.”
Badillo’s family declined to speak on camera. When told of the intoxication manslaughter charge against Ripley, though, his father said he considers what happened to be murder.