More than 60 people packed a Houston courtroom this morning to watch John Jacob Winne, 32, plead guilty in the 2008 death of 13-year-old Nicole Lalime, also known as “Lilly”.
Winne was sentenced to 30 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter and 10 years for failure to stop and render aid, terms to run consecutively. Winne will have to serve at least 15 years, before he is eligible for parole.
Valoree Lalime, mother of the deceased, an eighth grader at Bleyl Elementary, cried during her victim impact statement in court. After the hearing, she said her daughter would have wanted the family to forgive Winne, who was drunk when he ran three stop signs, hit the school bus Nicole Lalime was exiting and ran her over on Dec. 16, 2008.
The eighth-grade girl was two days away from Christmas break at the time of her death, and had only just undergone scoliosis surgery the year before.
State Senator Dan Patrick attended the hearing and noted afterward that the tragedy gave rise to a new law empowering police to draw blood under even broader circumstances. He said the new law was named “the Nicole Lalime Law.” The death of Lilly prompted the “Lilly Act” which requires DWI suspects with prior convictionsto undergo a mandatory blood draw if they are suspected if driving under the influence again.
Lilly’s family says they will continue to fight for tougher laws against drinking and driving.