By Nina Hall
SACRAMENTO – Adrian Almaraz apologized, but still was sentenced to 10 years in state prison after killing a man in a wheelchair after crashing into four vehicles in a drunken rage Nov. 28, 2018.
At Almaraz’s sentencing hearing here in Sacramento County Superior Court, Almaraz’s attorney, Chris Parkhurst, told the court that the defendant expressed remorse and recognition of wrongdoing relatively quickly, and attested that a remorseful person would only suffer throughout a long sentence.
The victim’s family, on the other hand, sent in statements expressing their wish that the court sentence Almaraz to the maximum time in prison, in this case 10 years.
And that is exactly what Court Commissioner Ken Brody did—10 years in state prison for felony gross vehicular manslaughter and four misdemeanor counts related to DUI driving.
The victim of this case was an older gentleman who was traveling down the sidewalk in his wheelchair when he was struck. Authorities pronounced him dead on arrival at the scene.
Authorities also noted that Almaraz’s blood alcohol content at the time of his DUI was .266, more than three times the legal limit.
Deputy District Attorney Nicholas Johnson noted that at the time of one of the vehicle collisions, another victim said, “You hit my car!” to which the defendant responded, “So what?”
Johnson read three different statements from the victim’s family about their wishes for sentencing—from the victim’s wife, daughter, and future son-in-law. All three expressed support for the maximum sentence.
Almaraz followed with his own statement that he prepared before his sentencing, displaying remorse and grief for the family saying, “…I don’t count this as a tragic act of God, but a traumatic consequence of my ignorance.”
Court Commissioner Brody did note the defendant’s remorse for his crime, but ultimately decided the aggravating factors of his case outweighed any remorse.
Almaraz had been convicted six years prior for another DUI in 2012.
“I find that while his prior criminal history is relatively insignificant (although) he has had a DUI before, it wasn’t that long ago.” Commissioner Brody stated. “That [prior DUI] should have been a wakeup call about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.”
Almaraz may be up for probation within less than five years, with Brody noting, “Mr. Almaraz will get out of custody at a time when his daughters are still quite young. He will have the opportunity to see them graduate from high school, get married, and have children. While the victim’s family no longer has such an option.”
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