“I was arrested downtown after selling less than $10 worth of crystal meth,” Briscoe says. The cops found a marked $20 in my purse. It went down on 10th Avenue, near the Starbucks.”
Briscoe is allowed only to go to and from her a part-time job at a nearby mall, and to a five-days-a-week rehab program. If she goes anywhere else, local police will be notified, at which point she will be sent back to Las Colinas.
“The other day, I had a bunch of missed phone calls from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. If you continuously charge [the ankle monitor] like they tell you to, you won’t get calls. Once the battery gets down to 35 percent, they’ll call you and say, ‘You are in direct violation.’ At the time of their phone calls, I was at work. I didn’t know what to do. I can’t charge my leg at work, because my coworkers would find out I’m on house arrest. I had to go down to the ice rink in the mall. I unplugged a Coke machine to charge up my leg. There I was, amongst families going ice-skating, charging my house-arrest ankle bracelet. Turns out, it was charged just fine. They just messed up my schedule and didn’t know I was at work.”
Despite small hassles, Briscoe is grateful for her freedom. The 28-year-old has been in and out of Las Colinas seven times in five years.
Cassie talks about her life after jail.
Before Ashley Maya’s arrest, she’d never received so much as a parking violation. Maya describes herself as responsible, someone who isn’t a big partier, who has never done drugs; she isn’t a big drinker. In Yuma, where she was stationed, she had her own house. Her single mother and five brothers lived with her, to help make ends meet. At 21, she was a den leader to her little brother’s Boy Scout troop.
“I was living like a 40-year-old woman,” she says. “On base, they used to call me Mama Maya. Everyone was surprised over what happened. No one could believe it, because I was a really good Marine.”
The night of the accident, Maya and her best friend, Pedro Conceicao, were celebrating his release from the Corps.
“It was going to be our one last shebang before he left to go back home to Virginia,” Maya recalls.
Pedro and Ashley met in Meridian, Mississippi, while attending aviation-operators’ school. They became instant friends. Later, they were stationed together at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. The two were inseparable. According to Maya, if you saw Pedro walking around base, she was with him.
Ashley doesn’t remember every moment of the accident. There are, however, vivid images that have stuck in her mind. For instance, she was barefoot. Her friend Vasty had loaned her a pair of high heels to wear to F6ix, the Gaslamp club, but Maya had kicked them off before driving home. She remembers the explosive noise her car made when it flipped over, and the silence that followed. She recalls Bryan Salcido, the front-seat passenger who escaped the wreck with minor injuries, helping her out of the car. She cannot forget the horrible moment when she realized that backseat passengers Vasty and Pedro had been ejected from the vehicle.
Vasty’s body flew so far that she landed on the 8. Pedro was on the 163. They heard Vasty yell, and Bryan headed in her direction.
Ashley found Pedro nearby.
“I checked his body for external injuries. I’m trained as a combat lifesaver. I was trying to save his life. I held him and waited for the ambulance.”
When the ambulance arrived, Maya wasn’t allowed to ride in the back with Pedro.
At Maya’s trial, prosecutor Jim Waters said, “When police arrived at the scene, [Maya] was cradling the head of the deceased, and at that time, police thought she was seriously injured, because there was so much blood on her blouse. In fact, it was the decedent’s blood.”
Maya was given a Breathalyzer at the scene. She blew into it three times before it could get a reading, because, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, she had a collapsed lung.
“You wanna know something crazy?” Maya asks. “That night, before we went downtown, Vasty took us to her church. We watched a movie [called Courageous] about a man whose daughter was killed by a drunken driver.”
When Maya was admitted to the hospital after the accident, she was told by law enforcement that Pedro didn’t make it.
“They read me my rights. I told them I didn’t want to talk to them, I wanted a lawyer. I knew it was bad. I’m a Marine, and someone died. They had a cop on watch outside my door 24/7. I cried for two days straight. I kept expecting Pedro to walk through the door and say, ‘Ha! I got you.’ But that never happened.”
To this day, when Maya closes her eyes, she sees Pedro as he was that night. “A moment embedded in my mind is Pedro’s face after the accident. Our eyes never left each other’s. It’s locked in my mind. I don’t want to remember him that way. It took me three days to wash his blood out from under my fingernails. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t talk about him, think about him, or dream about him.”
Shortly after Pedro’s death, his family contacted Maya.
“Talking to them was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was brutal. I would have hated me, but they accepted me. They forgave me and said they hoped the courts showed me leniency. They are Christians. They believe Pedro is in a better place. I pray for his family every night. If I feel this way, I can’t imagine what they must be going through. ”
Cassie Briscoe receives a drug test at least once a week. She has been sober since her arrest on August 27, 2012.
“I did drugs because I was hiding from the pain of my past,” Briscoe says.