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Father Had Several Previous DUIs Before Crash that Killed 12-Year-Old Daughter

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SACRAMENTO --

"Your granddaughter, he says it doesn't look good. He says it's all bad."

It was a night Regina Levy will hate the rest of her life. A phone call saying her granddaughter, 12-year-old Jo'Keisa Ziegler, was in a car wreck.

"He said your grand baby, you granddaughter has passed away,” Levy said.

Stockton Police say Jo'Keisa was not wearing a seatbelt when her parents’ 2001 Ford Explorer left the road and crashed into a tree on California Street.

The girl's father, Joe Ziegler, was behind the wheel at the time, and according to officer, had been drinking.

Since 2000, Ziegler has had at least six DUI arrests, as well as a criminal record which includes battery, elder abuse and false imprisonment.

Levy says her son's problems with drinking began 15 years ago, when he was mugged.

"Like seven guys had jumped him. As he was going out they hit him in the back of the head with a pipe and they split his head open,” said Levy.

His jaw was broken in several places, and Ziegler never recovered fully enough to return to work.

"That's when he started drinking. It just seemed like he started going downhill from there,” Levy said.

Ziegler is currently recovering in the hospital, under guard of a Stockton Police officer, and will face charges of DUI causing death.

Levy says she knows her son should be punished for what happened.

"I'm not trying to make any excuses for him. What he did was wrong,” said Levy.

For now Levy is counting her blessings her other granddaughter is still alive.

"She wasn't here. I just thank God for that because she would have been in the car too,” Levy said.

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