A Family Tragedy, Tears and Trials

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Antoinette Soliz will face a jury of her peers long before her
case ever goes to trial. Soliz is the Hollister woman who is facing
13 felony charges including involuntary manslaughter in the death
of her 4-year-old daughter, Jasmine Arroyo.
Antoinette Soliz will face a jury of her peers long before her case ever goes to trial. Soliz is the Hollister woman who is facing 13 felony charges including involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, Jasmine Arroyo.

At Jasmine’s funeral on Saturday, Soliz will face family. Following Jasmine’s tragic death and her mother’s arrest, this will be a trial of a different sort. Those gathered to remember Jasmine will determine her mother’s innocence or guilt. They will decide if she should be forgiven because, after all, they are her family.

Soliz, a 25-year-old mother of three, was arrested Jan. 29. Police believe she was driving drunk on a suspended license at 1am with 10 people in a sport utility vehicle with nine seat belts when the vehicle struck a guard rail and rolled.

Seven of those 10 passengers were children.

Eight of those passengers were injured.

One of those passengers, 4-year-old Jasmine, was killed.

In the coming months, the courts will determine what happened and who is to blame.

But Soliz’s family and all those who loved Jasmine will be making their own decisions on Saturday at the child’s funeral.

A Santa Cruz judge granted Soliz permission to attend the funeral – escorted by two armed sheriff’s deputies.

We think this was a sagacious decision.

Before Soliz explains her actions to a judge or jury, she should explain to her family – to those who loved her daughter – what happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 in an SUV on Highway 1.

Certainly, Soliz deserves due process and her day in court.

But the funeral will be something else entirely.

It will be emotional due process. A chance for Soliz, the family and everyone who loved Jasmine to grieve. To talk to and comfort one another. A chance perhaps for Soliz to see some of those who were injured in the crash.

As a mother, Soliz deserves a day to grieve for her lost child.

As someone accused of serious crimes, facing her family while watching her daughter be put into the ground could serve as a life-changing event more powerful, punitive and sobering than the prospect of prison.

We hope Soliz learns something on Saturday at her daughter’s funeral.

And we hope that Jasmine’s death is not soon forgotten.

We hope that everyone in our community will make seat belts, sobriety and child safety their top priorities.

We hope that nothing like this ever happens again.

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