HOUSTON — The woman who was driving drunk when she crashed into a Pearland officer, killing him, was given a lengthy prison sentence on Thursday. A jury sentenced Amber Willemsen to serve 32 years in jail.
In June 2016, Officer Endy Ekpanya was responding to a non-emergency call around 3:15 a.m. when another vehicle, driven by Willemsen, changed lanes and slammed into his patrol car head-on. The impact knocked Ekpanya unconscious and trapped him in the cruiser.
Willemsen, who had just gotten off work at the Ritz gentlemen’s club, was drunk. Two weeks before the fatal crash, she was arrested for drug possession. She remained jailed for over a year until a jury found her guilty of intoxication manslaughter on Tuesday.
Willemsen’s new life was far-removed from her previous life when she served as an assistant principal in Clear Lake.
During her trial, her attorneys argued that she was an addict, and asked the jury for probation. The jury saw otherwise, and sent the repeat offender a clear message. No slap on the wrist, and a long time behind bars.
At the time of his death, Ekpanya had only been with the department for a year and left behind a fiance and 2-year-old son.
Ekpanya’s death was hard for his fellow officers and the Pearland community. It has been more than 40 years since a Pearland officer was killed in the line of duty.