OCEANSIDE — A Superior Court judge sentenced a mother on July 23 to probation and ordered her to remain in a residential substance abuse treatment program. Rachel Leann Silva and her young son were shot after she initiated a confrontation with an off-duty police officer.
Silva, 29, pleaded guilty last November to one felony count of child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence in connection with the March 15, 2008, incident at the Lowe’s store parking lot in the 100 block of Old Grove Road in Oceanside with San Diego Police Officer Franklin White and his wife, Jacquellyn.
Despite two prior DUI convictions in 2007 and a 2003 road rage incident, Judge David Danielsen stayed a four-year prison sentence pending successful completion of five years probation.
Citing Silva’s enrollment in a residential treatment program 14 months ago, the judge granted her probation saying she has made a “substantial effort” to change her life.
In conjunction with her sobriety, defense attorney Michael Pancer said Silva is also working toward being part of her two young sons’ lives again.
“She has devoted herself to getting sober because she knows that she got a second chance in life and she is not going to waste it,” Pancer told the court.
Supervising Deputy Attorney General Jim Dutton told the judge Silva should go to prison or at least serve one year in jail because of her actions that night.
Silva, of Oceanside, was approximately 600 yards from her home when she started trailing the Whites because she perceived they had cut her off, police said.
She then proceeded to accelerate rapidly, screech her tires and cause a minor accident with the Whites as she pursued them through the parking lot, which led Franklin White to unload five shots from his revolver into Silva’s vehicle, authorities said.
Silva, who had been driving on a suspended license, had amphetamines in her system and a blood alcohol level of .15 two hours after the incident, police said.
Her son, Johnny, who was 8 at the time, was shot once in his leg near his knee, while Silva was shot twice in her arm.
A jury acquitted Franklin White last month on charges of discharging a firearm in a gross negligent manner with two allegations of great bodily injury, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of exhibiting his firearm.
He has returned to active duty with the San Diego Police Department.
At the sentencing, Jacquellyn White told the judge of the emotional and physical toll Silva’s actions have taken on her.
“I have lost my job as a police dispatcher,” Jacquellyn White said. “I have been financially ruined because of the defendant’s choices.”
Jacquellyn White, who resigned from her job as a dispatcher for the Carlsbad Police Department, said she has also endured nightmares, cold sweats and suffers from depression because of the traumatic incident.
A civil lawsuit stemming from the incident, which involves Luis Silva, Johnny’s father, is pending.