Man pleads guilty to Motor Vehicle Homicide crash that killed Omaha mother

(Sarpy County, NE) -- The man accused in a fatal drunk driving crash pleads guilty in Sarpy County court.

The Sarpy County Attorney's Office says on Tuesday, 24 year old Ulises Pantoja pled guilty to Motor Vehicle Homicide while driving under the influence for causing the death of Candice McDowell on November 24, 2021. According to witnesses, Pantoja was driving southbound on Highway 50 and Harrison Street at an “extremely high rate of speed” when he hit 37-year-old Candice McDowell, of Omaha, as she was eastbound on Harrison Street. Prosecutors say Omaha Fire Department personnel who responded to the crash observed signs of Pantoja’s intoxication. A blood test later detected a BAC of 0.134.

“This is a crucial step toward justice for the harms caused by Mr. Pantoja. Four children no longer have a mother due to his callous actions. Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Candice McDowell for this tremendous loss. We hope this helps to bring some healing in their lives,” said Deputy County Attorney Scott Earl.

Pantoja faces a maximum sentence of twenty years. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18.

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