A 19-year-old man was charged Wednesday with felony motor vehicle homicide in connection with a traffic collision that took the life of a Council Bluffs woman who had just graduated from college.

Eswin G. Mejia was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving early Sunday after Omaha police determined that the pickup he was driving rear-ended a car driven by Sarah Root, 21.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine charged Mejia on Wednesday after Root died.

Root, who worked at a Bluffs Walgreens store and graduated Saturday from Bellevue University, was taken about 2:15 a.m. to the Nebraska Medical Center, where she was declared brain dead. She had been interested in forensics, a relative said.

Root, a Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln alumna, was driving a 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada east on L Street when the collision occurred, police said.

Her sport utility vehicle was stopped or slowing when it was rear-ended by a 2000 Chevrolet 2500 pickup driven by Mejia, Kleine wrote in a statement.

Mejia, who doesn’t have a valid driver’s license, was treated at the medical center for a leg injury before he was booked into the Douglas County Jail.

Following a blood draw at the hospital, police learned that Mejia had a blood alcohol content of .241 percent, over three times the legal driving limit, Kleine wrote.

An arrest warrant was issued for Mejia in May for failure to appear for several traffic infractions, according to Douglas County Court records. He appeared in Douglas County Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to driving while his license was suspended and failure to secure a child’s safety seat.

If convicted of felony motor vehicle homicide, Mejia faces up to 20 years in prison.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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