A Missouri man received the maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for a drunk driving accident that killed one man and permanently injured a woman, according to prosecutors.
Brandon O. Garcia, 28, of Florissant, Mo., was fleeing police eastbound on Poplar Street Bridge at the time of the accident. Police were pursuing Garcia because he had just struck a police car with his 2003 Ford Mustang in downtown St. Louis.
Garcia swerved and struck Daunte Simmons and Elvira Secic who were walking on the Illinois side of bridge. Simmons was knocked off the bridge and died of his injuries. Secic was critically injured and suffered permanent disfigurement.
Garcia had a blood alcohol level of .162 at the time of the collision, more than double the legal limit. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison for causing Simmons' death and 10 years in prison related to Secic's injuries. The terms will be served at the same time.
Assistant State's Attorney Bernadette Schrempp said she argued for the maximum sentence as a deterrent to future crimes.
"The defendant's senseless actions that night turned two families upside down," Schrempp said. "They have suffered unimaginable and irreplaceable losses. The sentence imposed in this case should be sufficiently lengthy to deter others from similar crimes."
Garcia did not possess a valid driver's license at the time of the crime and had several pending driving while intoxicated charges in Missouri.
St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Michael Cook presided over the case.