A 27-year-old woman was sentenced on Tuesday after driving her car under the influence and crashing into an Orange police officer who was standing near the curb.
Ashley Victoria Bertolino, of Tustin, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty in August to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs causing bodily injury, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more causing bodily injury.
Bertolino struck one officer, identified as “Officer Doe” in a OCDA press release, as he was standing near the back of his parked patrol car alongside a curb in the 500 block of North Cambridge Street on Dec. 10.
She had a blood alcohol level of .13 percent and was under the influence of methamphetamine and THC while driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Officer Doe was pinned under Bertolino’s car for an undisclosed amount of time before other officers at the scene were able to assist him.
He was transported to a local hospital with major injuries, including a broken tibia and fibula and a brain hemorrhage
He also lost nine pints of blood at the scene, authorities added. Officer Doe, a United States Marine Corp veteran, addressed Bertolino and the court during sentencing.
“When I decided to leave the Marine Corps to become a police officer, my mindset never changed. I knew the dangers related to my job. I knew that not every day was guaranteed,” said Officer Doe. “Two tours in Afghanistan and now I am going to lose my leg.”
Doctors were able to save Officer Doe’s leg but he told the court he is in constant pain with limited mobility. He also had to receive skin grafts, including an artery from a cow, the DA said.
Officer Doe went on to say that he had hoped Bertolino would learn something valuable from the crash but her behavior “during the incident, arrest, and later on, as you were out on bail, showed me with most certainty you did not.”
The victim’s wife also gave a statement to the court at the time of sentencing. She told Bertolino how her husband loved to hunt, fish, run and play soccer with his kids prior to the crash, all activities “he may never be able to do again,” according to the DA.
“The very thing that my children and I prayed every night to help protect us from; you made it a horrific reality,” the wife said. “He is so unbelievably strong willed and he’s a survivor. The surgeons said the tourniquet saved his life.”
She added the time Bertolino serves is “ultimately irrelevant” to the family because she has already sentenced the family to “a life that is forever changed.”