Family Fumes After Capitol Rioter Out on Bond Kills Young Mom in Drunken Crash

Family Fumes After Capitol Rioter Out on Bond Kills Young Mom in Drunken Crash 1

A 22-year-old woman who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was drunk and driving in the wrong direction on Wednesday night when she killed a young mom and seriously injured another driver, authorities said.

Emily Hernandez was driving west in the eastbound lanes in Franklin County, Missouri, just after 7 p.m. when she crashed into another car that spun into the median strip and struck cable barriers, police said. Both vehicles “swerved to avoid each other,” according to a crash report posted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, but that didn’t spare 32-year-old Victoria Wilson, a passenger in a 2019 Buick Enclave, who perished.

Her husband, 36-year-old Ryan Wilson, who was behind the wheel, and Hernandez were both seriously injured and transported to local hospitals for treatment, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Hernandez was booked Wednesday night on allegations that she was driving while intoxicated resulting in death and serious injury of the couple, according to an arrest report.

Hernandez’s lawyer, Ethan Corlija, told WMOV that his client underwent surgery after the crash and was stable on Wednesday morning but declined to comment on the charges.

“The exact circumstances of the accident are unclear,” Corlija told the outlet. “It’s unfortunate. I am heartbroken for the others involved.”

It’s not the first time that Corlija has defended Hernandez. Weeks after the Capitol riot, he described her to reporters as “the girl next door,” after she appeared smiling in photos after storming the building.

“It’s an unfortunate situation and it’s one she didn’t want to put herself in,” Corlija said at the time. “She’s willing to move beyond it, do the things she needs to do to make it right and get on with the rest of her life.”

Hernandez made her way to the nation’s capital last year for the “Stop the Steal” rally with two others from the St. Louis area. She was among a throng of former President Donald Trump’s supporters who burst through police barricades on Jan. 6 and stormed the Capitol as Congress certified the peaceful transfer of power.

Hernandez infamously appeared in photos carrying a broken sign from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. She also posted images of herself at the Capitol on Snapchat, according to charging documents.

Hernandez was charged in district court for her role in the riot, including knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority, disorderly conduct which impedes government business, stealing, disruptive conduct in the Capitol, and demonstrating in the Capitol.

She was scheduled to plead guilty Monday to charges in that case. The two people she traveled to D.C. with included a man identified by authorities as her uncle, William D. “Bill” Merry, who pleaded guilty this week to theft of government property after he was seen in a photo alongside Hernandez holding the Pelosi sign while wearing a red “Trump 2020” cap. The pair was joined by Paul Scott Westover who pleaded guilty last month to demonstrating in the Capitol.

According to charging documents, after seeing someone smash a sign in Pelosi’s office, Merry told Hernandez to “get you a piece,” which she held in photos.

The woman who died in Wednesday’s crash leaves behind two sons, ages 10 and 15, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

With what she did to the government, why is she still walking the street?

“She had a heart of gold,” Victoria’s mom Tonie Donaldson told the outlet, adding that her daughter was a home healthcare aide who worked with disabled people. “Not everyone can work with mentally challenged children, and she’s done it since she was 13.”

During a hearing after Hernandez turned herself in to the FBI last year, prosecutors had not recommended that she be jailed until trial. At the time, she was ordered released on bond but was prohibited from contact with law enforcement as a condition of her release.

Mourning her daughter’s death, Donaldson questioned why Hernandez wasn’t in custody.

“Why is she still out?” Donaldson told the outlet. “With what she did to the government, why is she still walking the street? To me, she’s a piece of [expletive]. At 7 o’clock, you’re drunk and she got on the highway drunk?”