El Centro, California - On Monday evening, the Imperial County District Attorney, Gilbert Otero, presented Jennifer Ratcliff, survivor of a fatal car crash in 2015, with the Elsa Hechanova Memorial Award. The Elsa Hechanova Memorial Award was created to recognize an individual who has dedicated themselves to serving victims of crime or an individual who has been a victim of crime and has survived, testified, and worked with the prosecution to ensure justice.
“Ms. Ratcliff’s strength, courage and poise throughout the vehicular manslaughter trial of the individual who killed her husband serves as an inspiration to other victims in the community,” stated District Attorney Otero.
On March 20, 2015, Jennifer Ratcliff was riding in a car with her husband, Tim Ratcliff, when a semi truck driver struck their vehicle from behind as they were waiting for the light to change at an intersection. Tim Ratcliff died from his injuries in the collision. Ms. Ratcliff witnessed the tragic and sudden death of her husband, courageously testified at the trial, and assisted in securing a vehicular manslaughter conviction of the driver of the semi truck.
The Award is named after Elsa Hechanova who was a resident of El Centro and was murdered in her home during a home invasion robbery. Elsa was born in the Phillipines and immigrated to the United States with her husband and five children. She led a remarkable life of service to her community and family and lived by a moral code stressing the importance of being a contributing member of society.