New Year's Eve comes with so many expectations: the midnight kiss, the epic party, the resolutions. But all that pressure and build-up can also lead to some life-changing, tragic decisions.
That was definitely the case for Dona Huertas. The then 17-year-old just wanted to have a massive good time with her new friend Danielle McCarthy on that night back in 2006. Instead, as you'll see in tonight's episode of MTV's "One Bad Choice," (11 p.m. ET/PT) she ended up watching her friend collapse and slowly die as she suffered a series of seizures after taking an overdose of Ecstasy.
Huertas, a military brat who got used to moving around a lot as a kid, made fast friends with Danielle when she, her mother and sister moved to Puyallup, Washington. They hung out all the time, so of course they would spend NYE together ... at a party where they planned to take E together for the first time.
What happened next, though, was not part of the plan. When Danielle took the drug -- whose side effects can include impaired judgement, nausea, brain damage, kidney failure and convulsions -- something went wrong. When the first pill didn't seem to kick in, each took another (in addition to Danielle drinking alcohol, according to court testimony) and after leaving the party it was clear that the drugs were having a much stronger effect on McCarthy.
By the time they got to the next party, Danielle had wet her pants, thrown up several times, collapsed and repeatedly begged for her mom as she struggled to stay awake. Dona stayed by Danielle's side as she threw up and went in and out of consciousness for hours but she never called for help (or let her friends dial 911).
Danielle was dead by morning and Huertas was facing charges of supplying drugs to McCarthy and aggressively denying efforts to get medical attention for her friend. And even though she did try to help Danielle by giving her water and checking on her repeatedly, because Dona didn't let anyone call for help, she was now facing up to 8 years in prison.
The jury found Dona guilty of controlled-substance homicide second degree manslaughter. In 2009, she was ordered to juvenile detention until her 21st birthday after a judge said she acted with a "shocking lack of judgement over a lengthy period of time."
The co-defendant in the case, 21-year-old David Morris -- who sold the Ecstasy to Huertas and McCarthy -- pleaded guilty to controlled substance homicide and was sentenced to almost five years in prison. Danielle's dad wrote a book about his daughter's death and created a website dedicated to helping other teens escape the same fate.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol, visit the SAMSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for information about their free, 24-hour hotline or go to Halfofus.com to learn about treating and spotting signs of addiction.