No matter how long the prison sentence is for a Wisconsin man who pleaded guilty to causing a car crash that took the life of a teenager, it won't bring the boy back.
Everyone understands that. Perhaps no one understands it better than the teen's mother, who recently wept in a Ozaukee County courthouse as the judge described the details of the car accident that took her 18-year-old son's life.
Driving drunk is a combination of recklessness and negligence that can destroy lives. And that's the legacy the man who pleaded guilty must live with in prison.
The Ozaukee Press reports that the OWI driver's blood alcohol was more than three times the legal limit at the time of the car accident.
The 31-year-old Grafton man tried to tell police officers he'd had a single beer that night, but officers said they could tell he was intoxicated.
They also found beer cans in his minivan. After they tested the level of alcohol in his body, he was arrested.
Prosecutors are asking for the maximum penalty under the law: 25 years in prison.
Whether they will get that sentence is a matter of speculation. What's not a matter of speculation is the fact that the long sentence is rarely handed out in Wisconsin. Though defendants may receive significant time behind bars, it's uncommon for them to get the maximum.
For parents of a teenager lost in a senseless tragedy, the injustice of the punishment a criminal receives sometimes compels them to mete out more punishment in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit.
In that way, they can not only punish the offender, but also make him serve as an example to those who might be tempted to drink and drive.
Source: Ozaukee Press: "DA Wants 25 Years for Drunken Driver": December 8, 2010