Man Convicted in Miami Heat Dancer's Death Gets 15 Years

He'll walk free on $100,000 bond pending his appeal, however.

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6's Justin Finch has the latest on the sentencing of a man for the driving death of a former Miami Heat dancer. (Published Monday, May 5, 2014)

    Mario Careaga was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed, for the Sept. 10, 2010 crash that killed Nancy Lopez-Ruiz.

    However, Careaga will be out of jail, pending appeals, once he posts a $100,000 bond, which could be as soon as Tuesday.

    In emotional testimony Monday, Adela Lopez, Nancy's mom, told the court that Nancy was an organ donor while asking for the maximum sentence.

    "She wasn't selfish," said Adela Lopez. "She was thinking about other people."

    Driver In Crash The Killed Heat Dancer Given 15 Year Jail Sentence

    [MI] Driver In Crash The Killed Heat Dancer Given 15 Year Jail Sentence
    The driver in the crash that killed a MIami Heat dancer was given a 15-year jail sentence. The breaking news from NBC 6's Christina Hernandez. (Published Monday, May 5, 2014)

    Police say Lopez-Ruiz, who was set to begin her first season with the Miami Heat Dancers, was riding her motorcycle in the 700 block of E. Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale when she was struck by a Mercedes driven by Careaga.

    Man Convicted In Heat Dancer's Death Awaits Sentencing

    [MI] Man Convicted In Heat Dancer's Death Awaits Sentencing
    Mario Careaga faces a minimum of four years in prison in the Sept. 10, 2010 crash that killed Nancy Lopez-Ruiz. NBC 6's Christina Hernandez is live at the courthouse with the details of what happened in court Monday. (Published Monday, May 5, 2014)

    Police said Careaga drifted out of his lane when he hit the 22-year-old, who was thrown from her motorcycle and died at the scene.

    Careaga told officers he'd had two vodka drinks before the incident after being arrested, police said. Authorities said Careaga had a blood alcohol level of .28 at the time of the crash, more than three times the legal limit in Florida.

    Mario Careaga Guilty Verdict Upheld in Miami Heat Dancer's Death

    [MI] Mario Careaga Guilty Verdict Upheld in Miami Heat Dancer's Death
    The judge on Thursday upheld Mario Careaga's guilty verdict. (Published Friday, Mar 28, 2014)


    A jury found Careaga guilty of DUI manslaughter in March, but allegations surfaced that a juror made anti-gay comments during deliberations on the fate of Careaga, who is gay.

    Guilty Verdict on Hold

    [MI] Guilty Verdict on Hold in Trial Over Miami Heat Dancer's Death
    A guilty verdict is on hold for Mario Careaga in the trial over Nancy Lopez Ruiz's death after allegations that a juror made anti-gay comments during the trial. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports. (Published Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014)

    Broward Circuit Judge Illona Holmes later denied a defense request for a mistrial, saying there was no evidence Careaga was convicted because of his sexual preference.

    Careaga previously said that he wishes it had been him instead of Nancy who was killed. But Lopez's sister said she's not convinced.

    Jury Selection Begins in Heat Dancer Trial

    [MI] Jury Selection Begins for Man Charged in Crash That Killed Miami Heat Dancer
    Jury selection has begun in the trial of a man charged with DUI manslaughter in the Fort Lauderdale crash that killed Miami Heat dancer Nancy Lopez-Ruiz. NBC 6's Hank Tester spoke with mother Adela Lopez about the start of the trial. (Published Monday, Mar 17, 2014)

    "When he says that he's willing to take responsibility, it's not ture," Nancy's sister, Marjorie said.

    Careaga's lawyer said an appeal is expected to be filed on Tuesday.