Countless families in New Mexico have been scarred by the consequences of a car accident. When alcohol is involved, the blame is often placed on the person who was drinking and driving and emotions tend to run high. This was no different at the recent sentencing of one woman accused of causing a fatal crash while she was under the influence of alcohol.

The accident occurred in 2010 when the woman, a former actress on the show "Melrose Place," was driving her sport utility vehicle. According to the authorities, she had been drinking before getting behind the wheel. The collision occurred when another vehicle containing a man and his wife was turning into the driveway of their home. Records indicate that the blood alcohol content of the accused driver was more than three times the legal limit.

The man's 60-year-old wife died due to injuries she sustained in the accident, making the crash a fatal one. A jury eventually found the driver guilty and convicted her of vehicular homicide. She faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison after she was determined guilty in November. Her sentencing occurred recently and she received three years.

The husband and son of the deceased woman were in attendance during the sentencing hearing and were disappointed with what they heard. According to reports, the man yelled something to this effect immediately following the announcement of the driver's sentence. He and his son walked out of the courtroom afterwards.

Her sentence was lower than the maximum of 10 years because she is the mother of two children, one of whom has a mental and medical disability. This gave the judge reason enough to be lenient. She also apologized to the family at some point during the case. This case, like so many others, underscores the dangers of drunk driving and the potentially significant consequences of doing so for all parties involved.

Source: CBS Philly, "Former 'Melrose Place' Actress Gets 3 Years In Montgomery County Fatal Drunk Driving Accident," Feb. 14, 2013