A jury has awarded $20 million to the family of a woman killed in a DUI crash by a former elementary school principal in Lancaster.

The family of Jessica Ordaz, 29, filed the wrongful death lawsuit after Mary Noel Kruppe, 40, killed Ordaz in 2018.

On Nov. 15, 2018, Kruppe was driving while intoxicated on 50th Street East near Avenue P in the Palmdale area when she veered into oncoming traffic.

She crashed head-on into the vehicle driven by Ordaz, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Ordaz was killed on impact.

Attorneys representing the victim’s family said Kruppe was transported to the hospital, where tests showed she had a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit. 

On Feb. 4, 2020, Kruppe was found guilty of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She received a prison sentence of 15 years to life.

Kruppe, who lived in Pearblossom, was a former teacher and the principal at Enterprise Elementary School at the time of the crash. 

Following Thursday’s jury award, the victim’s attorneys released a statement saying:

“It’s frustrating that insurance companies like Geico drag these clear liability cases out for years to avoid paying what’s rightfully owed to our clients,” said lead trial attorney R. Rex Parris “These aggressive tactics by insurance companies do nothing more than prolong the suffering of a grieving family.”

“Ms. Kruppe clearly knew her actions would put everyone on the road in danger, yet she still decided to get behind the wheel after a night of heavy drinking,” said attorney Alexander R. Wheeler. “Our client’s daughter had such a bright future ahead of her, but it was shattered because of Ms. Kruppe’s reckless behavior.”