By all accounts, Obdulia Sanchez had a fresh start.
Just 26 months after she went to prison for killing her 14-year-old sister in a car accident near Los Banos – an accident that was livestreamed on her phone – while under the influence, Sanchez was released from prison and given a chance to reenter society.
It didn’t last lost.
Less than a month after the Stockton woman was paroled, she was involved in a pursuit when Stockton police officers tried to pull over her 2005 Buick LaCrosse for expired registration, and she refused to stop – running two stop signs before crashing near the I-5 onramp at March Lane.
When officers searched the car, they found a loaded .45 caliber handgun – essentially a one-way ticket back to prison for presumably a stretch similar to the one that she has done before.
Now when I heard this news on Thursday, I wasn’t necessarily shocked – I watched the unedited video of the graphic accident that claimed the life of her young sister, and the way that she was talking into the camera as the livestream rolled and her sister lay dead on the ground showed me that this wasn’t necessarily somebody that needs to be out on the roadways jeopardizing my life and the lives of people that I care about.
But, I thought, she would serve her time and hopefully come out of it with a renewed lease on life and a chance to make up for her transgressions.
Isn’t that what prison is supposed to be all about? Paying one’s debt to society and then taking advantage of the opportunity once its presented to us again?
Apparently, Obdulia missed that memo.
What’s so disconcerting about her story is that somewhere, right now, somebody is hoping that there will be a judge that will go easy on them, or a parole board will give them a break because they truly do want to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead of them. And that person, who has truly reformed themselves, is now less likely to get the chance because people like Sanchez leave a lingering taste in the mouths of those who have cut them breaks in the past – rendering them less likely to be compassionate in the future.
I have no doubt in my mind that not a day goes by that this young woman doesn’t feel terrible about the fact that she’ll never get to speak to her sister again, and that she is the reason for that absence in her life – that by choosing to drive under the influence, at a high rate of speed, and take her hand off of the wheel of the car while livestreaming the entire thing, somebody close to her lost their life.
But when you’re arrested a month later after taking the police for a ride when you fail to yield – and the entire ordeal ends up in a crash that could have claimed the life of any number of people at the two stop signs that she chose to run – it’s hard to believe that she has learned the error of her ways.
I’m all about second chances in this life and in this society.
But every once in a while, somebody comes along that does something absolutely foolish, and it ruins it for those actually deserve them.
This is one of those times.