Body camera footage captures moments after double fatal crash

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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EAST PEORIA (25 News) - 23-year-old Stephanie Melgoza could face 28 years in prison if found guilty of taking the lives of two people while driving under the influence April 10. She admits to having multiple drinks before getting behind the wheel of a car, with marijuana and an open bottle of Tito’s vodka found next to her.

43-year-old Andrea Rosewicz of Avon, Ohio, and 55-year old Paul Prowant of Seattle, Washington were killed around 10:15 PM. Police reports detail partial limb amputations and full blunt force trauma to both victims, with Melgoza’s vehicle sustaining significant damage, including a smashed windshield.

Body camera footage from the East Peoria Police Department shows an officer taking Melgoza into custody after completing field sobriety tests. She is seen blowing what officers say is a .264 on the breathalyzer. Officers attempted life-saving measures, with Melgoza taken to OSF for an evaluation. On multiple occasions, he tells her what she’s charged with and what happened, without her acknowledging it.

While at OSF, you can hear the officer telling her that two people are dead. But her response is unrelated to the information.

“Do you understand what I just told you that you killed two people tonight?” he asks.

“Yes,” she responds, “I’m just wondering when I can go back to school.”

Melgoza faces two counts of aggravated DUI, two counts of aggravated reckless driving, possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle, illegal transportation of alcohol, and failure to reduce speed.

Melgoza says she was four weeks away from graduating from Bradley. Now the question becomes what the defense can argue if no plea deal is entered.

“We don’t have the complete picture, and perhaps we’ll never get the complete picture on what’s going on on both sides,” says attorney Shaun Cusack regarding the case. “The families of the loved ones lost, and the defendant as well.”

Melgoza faces two felony counts of aggravated DUI, two more counts of aggravated reckless driving, possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle, illegal transportation of alcohol, and failure to reduce speed.

“The defense has a pretty uphill battle,” adds Cusack. “You’re doing a lot of damage control in these situations.”

The East Peoria Police Department is heading the investigation. Because it’s ongoing, neither the police chief or anyone else involved are able to provide any comment.

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