In July of 2011, a man who had been drinking and driving a stolen car struck a vehicle head on, leaving an 8-year-old passenger paralyzed from the waist down.
Jeremy Solis, 21, was driving a stolen vehicle when he plowed head on into a car carrying Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez and her sister. The two were on their way to get their nails done. At the time of the accident, Solis' blood alcohol level was 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit. Chilli, who is now 9-years-old, spent 104 days in Cook Children's Medical Center. It took her nearly a month before she could talk again.
Convicted of drunk driving and assault charges, Solis appeared in court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing. During the hearing, Chilli had the opportunity to address the court. Reading a letter to Solis, Chilli said :
"Hi Jeremy my name is Xitclalli Vasquez. But they call me Chilli....I don't remember the first several days. I could not talk, so I had to use my thumb to answer yes or no. While I was in ICU I had very bad moments. They take me to Xrays every day, feed me through my gbutton, I had tubes through my mouth and nose.
While reading her letter, Chilli was overcome with emotion. Her mother, Arabella Vasquez, finished reading the four page letter. It read in part:
"There were times that I would cry and cry…in therapy they showed me how to lift myself and dress myself. But right now it's still very hard. My mom does a lot for me but I try myself. There are days that I cry cause I can't do what I used to."
The letter ended with Chilli saying:
“Look at what I said and the words I said and tell me how I look and feel. How do you feel today? Do you remember July 9th?”
Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez
The full letter can be found here.
When Vasquez was finished reading her daughters letter, members of the jury, the judge and even Solis were crying according to ABC News.
Chilli hopes to walk again one day, and she hopes that Solis will agree to meet with her and her family and apologize for what he did to her on that day in July.
Solis was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
When asked what advice she would give to others, Chilli told CBS News:
"Don't drink, that's all."