Judge Scolds Drunk Driver Who Killed Foreign Student, Sentences Her to Nearly 18 Years

Officers examine the vehicle involved in a hit-and-run crash early Thursday near Liberty Station. Photo credit: OnScene.TV

A drunk driver who struck two young pedestrians in Liberty Station last fall, killing one, on Thursday received a prison sentence of almost 18 years.

Jonnie Nicole Cunning, 22, pleaded guilty to charges that include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for crashing into the two 18-year-old victims on Nov. 11, 2021.

San Diego police said the driver of a Kia Forte struck the victims at around 4:30 a.m. on the east side of Rosecrans Street near James Street.

The driver ran from the scene, but officers arrested her about two blocks away.

One of the victims, Werner “Job” Weustenenk, a native of the Netherlands studying abroad in San Diego, died the following day at a hospital. The other victim, Weustenenk’s classmate, suffered a broken leg and a concussion.

According to a statement written by Weustenenk’s parents and read in court by Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright, both victims attended the Midway District’s EF International Language Campus, near the scene of the crash.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Polly Shamoon chided Cunning before imposing the 17-year, eight-month sentence.

“This was not an accident. This was something you caused,” Shamoon said. “Regardless of what sentence I give you today and that you stipulated to, you have to live with it for the rest of your life, because that 18-year-old doesn’t have a life anymore because of your selfishness.”

– City News Service

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