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El Paso mother who lost sons to drunk driver in North Dakota arrested on alcohol-related charge

Published On: May 08 2013 12:15:43 PM CDT
BOTTINEAU, N.D. -

A woman who lobbied the North Dakota Legislature for tougher drunken driving laws after her two sons were killed by a drunken driver last summer faces a misdemeanor charge in an alleged alcohol-related driving incident.

Sandy Hernandez, 30, whose address is listed as Souris, was involved in a rollover crash Saturday morning in Bottineau County, according to the Highway Patrol. She was not hurt in the crash, authorities said. Court documents show she faces citations for leaving the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident, and a Class B misdemeanor charge of actual physical control of a vehicle.

The latter charge accuses a person of being behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk. The maximum punishment upon conviction is 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
    
Hernandez is due in Northeast District Court on May 28. Court documents do not list an attorney for her and a home telephone number could not immediately be found Tuesday.

Hernandez and her husband, Juan Ruiz, testified in support of stronger DUI laws during the legislative session that just ended. She and her husband stood behind Gov. Jack Dalrymple on April 29 as he signed a bill strengthening the state's DUI penalties, and she was photographed after the ceremony hugging the governor.

Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent declined comment to The Forum newspaper, saying the governor's office had not been informed of Hernandez's arrest.

The sons of Hernandez and Ruiz - Alaries Ruiz, 5, and Cyris Ruiz, 9 - were killed when a pickup truck ran over the tent they were sleeping in at a Lake Metigoshe campground on July 7, 2012. The boys lived in El Paso, Texas, and had traveled to North Dakota to visit their father, who was working in the state's western oil patch. Their friend, Anthony Tabarez Jr., 9, of Newburg, also was injured, as was Juan Ruiz.

The driver of the pickup, Juan Acosta, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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