An emotional scene unfolded at the Pima County Superior Court Friday as the family of Reina Cota heard the sentencing handed down of the man who tragically took her life in a fatal DUI crash in 2021.

Reina Cota was remembered by her family as a loving sister, daughter, and mother, who always placed others before herself.

“That was the dream of her life to be a mom,” shared one of her sisters, Macayla Cota.

However, this dream became a reality that lasted only ten months for Reina before her life was senselessly taken during the early morning hours of February 21, 2021, leaving behind her loving family, including her now three-year-old daughter, Mia Clark.

“She misses her and she remembers her and she knows her. It’s hard for her to wrap her head around what’s going on. It’s hard for us to give her the right answers,” described Reina’s aunt, Leah Goodman.

Macayla added that her sister “looked out for everyone, she didn’t care what you looked like or what you had. She treated everybody the same.”

The man responsible for her tragic death, Jesus Rodriguez, was found to be traveling at a high rate of speed and was two times over the legal drinking limit when he struck Reina’s car at the intersection of Bilby Road and Campbell Avenue.

Reina was pronounced dead at the scene, and her sister Mariah was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

“I honestly believe that he didn’t care about anything,” expressed one of her family members regarding Rodriguez.

On Friday, Reina’s family finally obtained a sense of closure as Rodriguez was sentenced on all six counts he was accused of, including first-degree felony murder, which carries a 25-to-life sentence.

“I feel justice has been done, but that’s not going to bring us Reina back,” said her grandfather, William G. Goodman Jr. “But we’re going to have to live through and have faith in God and go on with our lives.”

Relying on their faith, Reina’s family is now prepared to turn a new page in a world without their ‘raindrop’ as her grandfather affectionately described her.

Her cousin, Abrianna Goodman, added, “Nothing will ever compare to the loss of Reina as her mother. We will never be able to know the full potential of her as a mother. But we’re all going to do our best to be there for her and, of course, advocate against drinking and driving.”

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