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Moments before a judge sentenced her to 15 years to life in prison, a Livermore woman tearfully apologized Tuesday for an alcohol- and drug-related crash that killed two of her passengers four years ago. 

Lauren April Davis, 30, said she understood she might never be forgiven, but planned to work on sobriety while behind bars and tell her story to others to prevent similar tragedies. 

“I wish I could trade places with them and bring them back,” Davis said during the proceeding in Alameda County Superior Court in Dublin. “I would give anything to take back what happened that day. It tears me to pieces that I can’t, and it kills me every day.” 

Davis told a crowded courtroom filled with her victims’ families that she could not put into words the pain and guilt she felt for the Nov. 22, 2017, crash that killed Violet Campbell, a 16-year-old student at Village High School in Pleasanton, and Alexys Garcia, 25, of Livermore.

Last month, Davis pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree murder, sparing her and her victims’ families from going through a trial that likely would have ended with a similar outcome.

Davis said she prayed every day to ask, “Why not me? Why am I still here and not them. I pray that some day the families will have mercy on me and try in their hearts to forgive me. I hold myself responsible for what happened. I was in a bad place four years ago and made choices I will have to live with for the rest of my life.” 

A repeat offender of drunken driving, Davis smoked marijuana and drank whisky shots the night she took the wheel of her Kia Sorrento. The California Highway Patrol said her blood-alcohol level was 0.16, which is twice the legal limit for driving, when she drove east at 70 to 80 mph along Stanley Boulevard near Isabel Drive in Livermore. Davis lost control of the SUV, which veered off the right side of the road and rolled over several times, prosecutors said.

Violet, who was seated behind her, was killed instantly. Garcia was ejected into the street. She suffered massive head injuries. Family members turned off life support systems that kept her heart beating a week later. Two other passengers were injured, but not seriously. Davis was unhurt. 

Just six months earlier, Davis pleaded guilty to alcohol-related reckless driving. A judge sentenced her to 15 days in county jail, placed her on three years probation and ordered her to take a class on the dangers of drunk driving. It was her second offense.

In 2013, Davis was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. She pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was placed on three years probation. 

Still, on the night before Thanksgiving 2017, Davis downed shots at a bowling alley and outside and inside a Livermore bar. She and her four passengers got into her SUV and headed for another bar when they crashed, prosecutors said.

“This case was as avoidable as it was tragic,” Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Gaidos said. “Every time local residents travel Stanley Boulevard from Livermore to Pleasanton and see the memorial on the side of the road, I hope that they, as I do, honor Lexy and Violet’s lives by remembering and reminding those around them that driving under the influence is a dangerous and serious crime which has devastating impacts on families and serious consequences to those who choose to do so.” 

During an emotional sentencing hearing, more than a dozen people including Violet’s and Campbell’s siblings and parents, spoke, describing that awful night they learned of the crash, their terrible grief and how their own lives had been changed forever. 

Alexys’ father, Toff Garcia, said his daughter had an unmistakable energy and spirit. He said she struggled with a learning disability throughout her life, but offset it with a love for and compassion for people and animals. She played sports and was an avid San Francisco Giants and Oakland Raiders fan. 

“Anywhere I go in Livermore reminds me of her - restaurants, schools, playing fields, seeing people,” the father said. "This tragedy has left me badly broken. I quietly live in indescribable grief, sadness and the horror of what I saw and had to deal with following the crash. Seeing Lexy in the ICU was a shocker I can’t get out of my mind. My precious beautiful daughter was gone.” 

Violet’s mother, Michelle Campbell, said she had spoken with her daughter about plans to go jet skiing that weekend and later help her get her driver’s permit, not knowing the conversation before the crash would be their last. She said her daughter died in a drunken driving crash that could have been avoided. She said she also died that day and has struggled with normal life since then, knowing she would never see her daughter again, or see her go to prom, get married or have children. 

“That was all ripped away the day Lauren decided to get behind the wheel, drunk and high, putting so many people’s lives in danger and then killing two people,” Campbell said. “This was a careless act that could have been avoided.” 

Before imposing Davis’ sentence, Judge Michael Gaffey said he had received numerous letters from the victims’ friends and family members that described Garcia and Violet as kind-hearted, thoughtful, artistic, athletic and caring. He suggested their grieving  family members remember the joy they brought.

“Sentencing days like today are sad events for everybody concerned,” the judge said. “There is no joy today, but I think that Violet and Lexy would want you all to experience joy in the future. They wouldn’t want their passing to create pain for the rest of your life.”