A judge gave a harsher sentence than may have been expected to a a man who killed three pedestrians.
Daniel Becker admits to smoking marijuana earlier that day and also blames the accident on a seizure. But that explanation wasn’t enough for the judge.
Parole and Probation recommended a sentence of seven years. Instead, the judge sentenced Becker to 21 to 60 years in prison, pointing out Becker shouldn’t have been driving in the first place.
“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t see that accident and I wasn’t even there,” said Catherine Joiner, victim’s sister.
The crash happened at Flamingo Road and Eastern Avenue on Dec. 13, 2017.
“My mother and sister’s bodies looked so unrecognizable we had to cremate them,” said LoToya Pasillas, sister and daughter of victims.
Carrie Smith, 49, and her daughter, Jazzy Smith 19, were killed, along with another pedestrian, Charlene Emerson, 69, as they used the crosswalk. Driver Daniel Becker lost control hitting the woman.
Six other people were hurt including a woman who suffered serious head injuries.
On Monday, Becker received a 21-year prison sentence after an emotional statements from the Smith’s loved ones.
“I asked God to just give me the right words and most of all let him do the sentencing,” Joiner said.
Beckers admits to smoking marijuana the morning of the crash, and later when heading home from work. He claims he had an epileptic seizure. Turns out he had nine times the legal limit of THC in his blood and he had surrendered his driver’s license after he lost control of the wheel three months prior.
“He knew he was prone to seizures and once you’re at that point, the law says you’re on notice and you’re not to be on the road unless you get approved from the DMV and he didn’t,” said Deputy District Attorney Thomas Moskal.
Becker’s attorney says the 32-year-old has three young children.
“The last thing that went through his mind before he woke up in the hospital is the excitement of getting home cause he had some money to pay for the presents for his kids,” said Becker’s attorney Bret Whipple.
He says the judge’s sentencing is harsh, but the victims’ loved ones say he has to face the consequences.
“I’ll never get to tell her I love her,” Pasillas said.
In this case, Becker pleaded guilty to DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. He did apologize in court. The sister and aunt of the Smith victims said she does forgive but she still wanted Becker to get significant time in prison.