Driver sentenced to 8 years for fatal DUI crash

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 2:04 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A man will spend 8 years behind bars for killing a Tucson woman while driving under the influence last summer.

On Tuesday, a Pima County Superior Court judge handed 23-year-old Jose DeJesus Chavez the maximum sentence of his plea bargain.

“Your actions have consequences,” said Marcos Monreal in court. “You need to have the proper punishment in order to learn your lesson.”

Emotions ran high as Monreal took the stand. The 16-year-old is the oldest of three mourning the loss of their mother.

“There’s no upside, no good side to the whole thing,” Monreal told KOLD News 13 after the sentencing. “It was a tragedy all around.”

Chavez previously plead guilty to Aggravated DUI and Negligent Homicide in the death of Tiffany Shaw. His deal carried 4-to-8-years of prison time.

“Nobody is condoning his behavior, nobody is saying that what he did was right,” said Rafael Gallego, Chavez’ attorney. “Everyone agrees that it was wrong and Tiffany paid the ultimate price for it. However, he does have some qualities that are redeeming.”

Gallego told Honorable Judge Howard Fell that his client is “very remorseful” and “takes full responsibility for his actions.”

“I wish that my life was taken that day instead of Miss Shaw’s,” Chavez said in court.

The defense asked for the minimum 4-year sentence. Deputy County Attorney Bruce Chalk, who was representing Tiffany, asked for the maximum 8-year sentence. Chalk argued Chavez’ has a criminal history, which includes domestic violence and a suspended driver’s license for a separate DUI. Chavez reportedly got into a crash and fled the scene one month before he ran a red light and collided with Tiffany’s vehicle.

“You’re a danger to the community,” said Judge Fell. “I have considered your selfishness, your lack of respect for others in the community while driving impaired, that Miss Shaw was killed by you when you had a pending DUI.”

Judge Fell sentenced Chavez to 8 behind bars and 10 years of probation afterwards. He will receive 340 days credit for time served.

Chavez’ family declined our interview request.

“If he betters himself, then good for him,” said Loraine Shaw, Tiffany’s mother. “I’m not an evil person, I am not horrible. It doesn’t change the fact that we lost our daughter.”

Loraine says she was “relieved” by the decision.

“But there’s never going to be closure,” she said. “Because there’s never going to be a moment when we don’t think about Tiff. If we want to see her, we go to the cemetery. I would give anything to hear her voice again.”

“For me to graduate [next year] and not even see her there, it’s crazy!” Monreal said.

Tiffany’s family is now using their tragedy to warn others.

“[Driving while intoxicated] tears a family apart,” said Loraine. “There’s no excuse for it. There’s no reason for it. If you feel you need to drink, do not drive.”

Loved ones have set up a GoFundMe page for Tiffany’s family. If you would like to donate, click HERE.