Candice McDowell Death: DUI driver charged in deadly Central Sarpy County crash

Candice McDowell Death: DUI driver charged in deadly Central Sarpy County crash.

In a press release by Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, officers along with Omaha Fire and Rescue, responded to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of 144th Street and Harrison Street in Central Sarpy County at approximately 10:49 p.m. on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

Upon arrival, emergency personnel found the driver and sole occupant of a Mitsubishi Outlander identified as 37-year-old Candice C. McDowell of Omaha unresponsive and in extremely critical condition. Passerby including an off-duty Omaha police officer rendered aid until medical personnel could take over care of McDowell. The other vehicle involved was driven by 24-year-old Ulises Pantoja of Omaha and passenger 23-year-old Briana Felix-Gabriel of Omaha. Both suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries.

All three involved in the crash were taken to a local trauma center, where Candice McDowell succumbed to her injuries. The other two involved were treated for their injuries and expected to survive.

Preliminary investigations revealed Ulises Pantoja was driving in a willfully reckless manner prior to the crash and was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, authorities said.

Pantoja is now in the custody of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office and is being charged with willful reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and a felony count of motor vehicle homicide.

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