Driver pleads in Charlie Davies crash

Updated: November 16, 2010, 4:00 PM ET
Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The driver in a crash that injured U.S. national team forward Charlie Davies and killed a female passenger pleaded guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.

Maria Espinoza, 23, faces up to 13 years in prison when she is sentenced in February, though sentencing guidelines suggest she will spend closer to three to four years behind bars. She also agreed to pay restitution to Davies and the family of the female passenger, though that amount was not revealed.

Espinoza, Davies and 22-year-old Ashley Roberta met at a Georgetown restaurant Oct. 12, 2009 and went to a nightclub, according to a court document. The three left the nightclub together at about 1:30 a.m. ET.

Espinoza agreed to drop off Davies at his hotel but was unfamiliar with the area. She used a GPS to get directions but missed an exit she was supposed to take. While driving on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, she took her eyes off the road to look at the GPS again and hit a bridge support, according to the document. The force of the crash cut the car in half and killed Roberta, of Phoenix, Md., who was sitting in the front seat.

Espinoza was driving above the 40 mph speed limit and had a blood-alcohol level of .13, above the legal limit of .08, according to a court document.

A good Samaritan who stopped to help after the crash said Espinoza tried to pull Davies out of the car, but he was pinned in the back of the vehicle. He had consumed very little alcohol and was not under the influence, according to the court document.

Davies sustained broken bones in his right leg, elbow and face, as well as a lacerated bladder. The injuries caused him to miss this year's World Cup. He is trying to regain fitness with Sochaux's reserves in France.

Espinoza, of Clarksville, Md., will be sentenced Feb. 18 in federal court in Alexandria.

Davies' lawyer, Jon D. Pels, said the forward would participate in sentencing by submitting a statement.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press