ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The drunk driver who sped through a red light and killed three young people last November was sentenced to 16 years behind bars Thursday.
One by one Thursday morning, over the course of about two hours, family and friends told the judge why they think Jacob Jaramillo should get the maximum sentence of 18 years in prison.
“I just feel cheated. I feel cheated of a lifetime, my lifetime, with my beautiful, sweet, kind, loving child,” the father of Grace Sinfield said.
“Whenever I pictured my future, like my wedding day, Grace has always been the maid of honor,” Grace’s sister said.
Jaramillo sat quietly, listening. Nearly a year ago, he ran a red light and crashed into 20-year-old Grace Sinfield and brothers, 23-year-old Sergio Mendez-Aguire and 27-year old Roberto Mendez, killing all three.
Police lapel video from the scene shows Jaramillo acting confused about what happened, but he didn’t admit fault for the crash. That is, until August when Jaramillo pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal.
“We want some sort of accountability,” Edgar Leal said, cousin to Roberto and Sergio.
At one point, a family friend of the brothers played a slideshow of pictures of all three victims set to music. The mother of the brother burst into tears as she watched. Family members consoled her.
“He committed a reckless act and he made a mistake, but he didn’t intend the kind of terrible harm that happened here to occur,” Jaramillo’s attorney said shortly after.
Then, Jaramillo spoke.
“There’s no easy way to say this, but I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do or say for what I took from my irresponsibility,” he said. “I’m not here to make excuses. I’m not going to play the victim. I’m just going to face the consequences and I hope that one day you can forgive me.”
In the end, Judge Brett Loveless gave Jaramillo a small break, sentencing him to 16 years with two years of probation.
Judge Loveless left everyone with this message, “I hope sincerely that this case just highlights for the public at large, how incredibly dangerous this behavior is and how one isolated stupid decision can destroy lives.”
Had this crash happened after July 1st of this year, Jaramillo would have faced 45 years in prison, 15 years for each victim. The new law was just passed.