SALEM, Mass. — The driver who fled Lawrence police and then slammed head on into a compact car, killing an 11-year-old girl and seriously injuring four others, broke into tears in court and apologized Monday afternoon.
"I just want to say I'm sorry and I hope the family can find some type of closure after this," said Selvin Lima, 24, who was charged after the July 13, 2019, crash near Winthrop and Parker streets in Lawrence.
Taysha Rohena Silva, 11, of Fitchburg was killed. Her mother, sister, cousin and mother's boyfriend were seriously injured in the 5:40 p.m. crash.
Lima on Monday pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges, including manslaughter, drunken driving, assault and battery and more, in Salem Superior Court. He was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in state prison followed by five years of probation with conditions when he's released.
"It's a very, very difficult case — a terrible thing for everyone involved," said Judge Thomas Dreschler, noting Lima's "prompt acceptance of responsibility" after the crash five months ago.
"It's so, so unfortunate," the judge stressed.
The crash occurred after a Lawrence officer pulled over Lima, of Lawrence, and he sped away.
Driving drunk, Lima had an open bottle of Hennessy cognac in his car when he crashed his 2009 Infiniti G37 into the Honda Civic carrying the five people.
Testing revealed Lima’s blood alcohol level was .17, well over the .08 limit under state law, a prosecutor said previously.
In addition to the Honda Civic, Lima nearly hit another vehicle that night, said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Kirshenbaum.
The 8-year-old sister of the girl who died suffered traumatic brain injuries, still cannot walk and lost control of major body functions, the prosecutor told Dreschler.
Others suffered spinal cord injuries, broken bones and other serious injuries.
"The injuries to the family were devastating," said Kirshenbaum during Monday's hearing.
Dreschler asked Lima a series of questions during the hearing including, "Did you commit these acts?"
"I did," Lima replied.
Family members of Silva's sat in the courtroom gallery Monday afternoon, many wiping away tears.
The 10 charges against Lima are: manslaughter while operating under the influence; three counts of operating under the influence causing serious bodily harm; three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a child; failure to stop for police; and operating after suspension or revocation of his license.
On the charges, Dreschler also sentenced Lima to nine to 10 years in state prison and two and a half years in Middleton Jail. Those sentences will be served concurrently with the 12 to 14 years in state prison.
He was also assessed fines and fees for the convictions. While on probation, Lima will have to adhere to curfews, not use alcohol and submit to random alcohol screens.
Lima has two children and previously held cleaning and home improvement jobs, he said.
Held without bail since his arrest, Lima was given credit for 177 days he's already served in jail.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.