Perez-Marquez sentenced for wreck that killed 4 Sabetha family members

Published: Jun. 14, 2019 at 2:48 PM CDT
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A Nebraska woman will spend three years in jail for a wreck that killed four members of a Sabetha family.

Maria Perez-Marques, 49, was sentenced Friday in Jackson Co. District Court. In April, she pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide and a felony count of aggravated battery, Jackson Co. Attorney Shawna Miller said.

A judge sentenced her to one year in jail for each count of vehicular homicide. The terms will be served consecutively.

She also received 13 months for the aggravated battery charge, which was suspended in lieu of two years probation.

In a victim impact statement read by a friend on behalf of Pam Ukele, Stephen's wife of 31-years, she said the tragedy "will forever be etched into my memory, my family's memory, as an unspeakable horror."

Paula Ukele Miller, Lee and Stephen's sister, told the judge about Lee's smile and laugh that filled the room , Carmen's bigger-than-life personality, and Stephen's love for watching his nephews play football, adding, "I don't know if we will ever fully come to grips with the impact of this senseless event.”

In November 2017, authorities say Perez-Marquez was trying to pass another vehicle, swerved onto the shoulder, and crashed into an oncoming minivan.

The Ukele family was in that minivan, on their way home from watching their nephews, Tanner and Carson, win a state football championship for Sabetha.

Carmen Ukele and her daughter Marlee, 11, were killed in the crash, along with Marlee's uncle Stephen Ukele as well as children's father, Lee Ukele, who had been critically injured, and passed away


UPDATE: The story has been updated to reflect the 13 month sentence for aggravated battery was suspended in lieu of two years probation.

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