A University of Southern California (USC) campus police officer will spend a month in jail for hitting and killing a graduate student from Carlsbad.
Officer Miguel Guerra was driving nearly 70 miles per hour when he crashed his police cruiser into Kelsey Dresser's car a year ago, the family said.
The victim's parents had one demand before agreeing to the plea deal Wednesday in court. They wanted the officer to apologize and take responsibility for their daughter's death.
For the first time, Mike and Jill Dresser stood face to face with Guerra.
“He said that there isn't a day that goes by he doesn't think about Kelsey and we're in his thoughts and prayers every day,” Mike Dresser said.
Those were the words the family said they had waited a year to hear.
“He showed real remorse. So yes, it did bring some closure,” Jill Dresser said.
The collision was recorded on a campus security camera.
Guerra had been responding to a stranger complaint in a parking garage before the crash occurred.
Family members claim Guerra was driving without lights or sirens at 70 miles per hour when he crashed into Dresser's red convertible.
“Anything can happen at any time. Tell people the way you feel about ‘em because it can change in a blink of an eye,” Mike Dresser said.
Kelsey was a first year grad student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at USC.
“Always driven academically, she wanted to do well. Kelsey always worked hard and succeeded,” her father said.
Kelsey had a great passion for life and many friends, her family said. She was the oldest of two sisters.
“We'll miss her smile. She had a beautiful smile, her love of animals, her love of sisters,” her mother said.
The family say they mourn her death but find courage and hope in the life Kelsey lead.
“She's not gone. She is with us every day and she is all around us,” Jill Dresser said.
Guerra began his jail sentence Wednesday. It includes 45 days of community labor and three years’ probation.
The family has also filed a civil suit against the officer and the university.