The facts of the case were bizarre and largely undisputed: Alexis Facey, a single mother, attended a friend’s birthday party at Tootsie’s strip club in Miami Gardens. After a free shot of liquor and many drinks, she climbed into her car and drove off.
“All I remember is waking up in a police car,” Facey, 35, told a Miami-Dade judge in a hearing earlier this fall.
Facey had caused a trail of mayhem on April 10, 2019: crashing alongside Interstate 95, then carjacking the truck of a man who stopped to help — his 63-year-old mother, an infant baby and two dogs in the back. That led to a frantic chase which ended when Facey plowed the stolen truck into two other vehicles in Miramar. The driver of one of those vehicles had to be extricated from her mangled SUV, her knee and ankle shattered, her liver lacerated.
For that fateful night, Facey is now going to prison. A Miami-Dade judge on Thursday sentenced Facey to five years in prison, followed by one year of “community control” and five years of probation.
“Ms. Facey’s actions cannot go unpunished,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer wrote in her 13-page order. “Her behavior on the evening was nothing short of shocking.”
But Venzer also rejected prosecutors’ request to sentence Facey to 20 years in prison, and went below the bottom of the sentencing guidelines of 15 1/2 years. She pointed out the state routinely accepts minimum-mandatory plea deals of four years in prison for DUI manslaughter cases in which someone dies.
Without a plea deal, Facey had earlier pleaded guilty to felony charges include robbery carjacking, kidnapping and driving under the influence involving serious property damage and serious bodily injury.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer, pictured here in 2916, sentenced Alexis Facey to five years in state prison, to be followed by one year of community control and five years of probation.
A Tearful Hearing
Her sentencing hearing, featuring emotional testimony on both sides, took place over two days in August.
The judge heard how when Facey left Tootsies, she crashed her car near Ives Dairy Road, her blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit. And she heard from the two drivers who pulled over on the northbound lanes of I-95 to offer assistance.
One of them, Jose Seijo, drove a black pickup truck. While he inspected Facey’s car and searched for any other passengers in what remained of her vehicle, Facey jumped in Seijo’s truck — his 63-year-old mother and an infant son were still in the cab.
“My life has had a before and after the accident,” said Emma Rosa Perez Ortega, the woman in the stolen truck, saying she has since suffered “a lot of panic attacks, a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression. And I’m constantly obsessed about watching my grandson, I don’t want him to get lost, not even for a minute.”
Seijo and Roselene Tur Perez, the parents of the baby, testified feeling like their family had fallen apart because of what they believed was a good deed.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen with my son, I didn’t know what was going to happen with my mother. I could have lost my whole family that night, just for stopping to help someone,” said Perez, who fell on the side of the highway while trying to open the door of the truck as it drove off.
The carjacking left more than more than emotional wounds.
Karista Kerr, who driving to the Hard Rock casino that night, was the driver hit by the stolen truck as it fled. She told the judge she blacked out and when she came to, she looked down at her knees. They gushed with blood, her ankles turned in the opposite direction.
“My knee was shattered, my ankle was shattered, my liver was lacerated,” Kerr testified under questioning by prosecutor Stephen Mitchell.
She said she now has to receive a CAT scan every six months since her aorta ruptured as a result of the crash. She shared that her aorta could still worsen at any moment in response to high blood pressure.
“Because of this car accident, physically and mentally, I’m not the same anymore,” Kerr said. “It tears me up because to this day now, I’m not there for my children the way I want to be. My whole life has been destroyed with no choice of my own that I made.”
As Kerr testified, Facey hung her head low and sobbed.
Facey’s defense attorney vied for a shorter sentence, saying the crime was an isolated incident and was “unsophisticated” — without premeditation or malice.
“This is someone who I think probably had the worst night of her life, as the victims did as well,” Facey’s defense attorney Rachel Kuhl said on Aug. 22, the final day of the sentencing hearing. “I don’t think one bad night should ruin your life.”
During the hearing, Facey tearfully testified that she wrote an apology letter and repeatedly prays for the victims. In her order, Judge Venzer said she found her testimony “regarding remorse compelling.”