Lee County woman accepts plea after two youngest daughters die in aggravated manslaughter crash

Published: November 28, 2022 6:30 PM EST

Joyce Zamago, 45, accepted a plea deal to go to jail for 18 years after letting her teenage daughter drive before crashing and killing two of her youngest children.

Zamago pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Zamago’s two youngest daughters who died in the crash. CREDIT: WINK News

The seven other felonies Zamago faced got dropped in the plea, but she’ll have to live without her two youngest children for the rest of her life.

Zamago walked up to the judge on Monday.

“Is that what you wanted to enter into today,” the Judge asked.

“Yes, sir,” Zamago replied.

In Aug. 2021, Zamago had her 14-year-old daughter get behind the wheel of a minivan.

Her daughter was going to drive from Immokalee to Lehigh acres with Zamago in the passenger seat, drinking beer.

Minivan crash at the scene. CREDIT: WINK News

All of this while four other children sat unbuckled in the car.

Then another car crashed into them along State Road 82.

Her two youngest daughters, 4-year-old Flor and 3-year-old Pilar died in the crash.

The scene of Joyce Zamago’s crash. CREDIT: WINK News

Malcam Godwin, Zamago’s lawyer, explained how Zamago is trying to handle not living with her two youngest daughters.

“She’s already trying to heal from it. She spent the last year going to multiple counseling type of classes,” Godwin said.

Godwin told WINK News that part of taking the plea was to ease the pain of her surviving children.

“She did not want her children to have to go through a trial process in which they may have to be witnesses,” Godwin said.

“They’re going to miss their mother. It was a tragic event. And I think they’re all suffering from that tragic event,” Godwin said.

After Zamago serves her time in prison, she’ll then have ten years of probation.

Zamago will also need to complete more than 100 hours of community service along with a victim impact panel learning the dangers of reckless driving.