Teen sentenced for fatal accident
“The public certainly has the right to be safe from stoned punks driving around in early morning hours in a stolen car, high, carrying drugs, carrying a weapon, with no driving training, no insurance, no license, no nothing,” Walworth County Judge Michael Gibbs said.
Donovan N. Espinosa, 18, pleaded guilty in September to homicide while driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed weapon were dismissed but read in.
Gibbs also sentenced Espinosa to 10 years extended supervision and treatment. The judge said the sentence was not just about punishing Espinosa but also making others realize they will be punished for driving under the influence.
The sentencing reading was followed by emotional responses from friends and family members on both sides of the courtroom.
The victim's family exploded in applause.
Espinosa's mother cried hysterically.
At the time of the crash, Espinosa was southbound on Bowers Road when he failed to stop at the stop sign at Highway 11. His vehicle smashed into the driver’s side of a pickup truck at about 3:45 a.m. March 10, according to police reports.
The driver of the pickup truck, Dean A. Schumacher, 41, of Delavan was pronounced dead at the scene.
Espinosa told police he had smoked marijuana about six hours before the crash, according to the criminal complaint. Police found a bag of marijuana in his pants pocket and a homemade knife in his backpack, according to the complaint.
Espinosa is an illegal alien with no driver's license.
Defense Attorney Christopher Kuehn asked for three to four years of prison.
District Attorney Phil Koss said Espinosa showed no remorse and didn't seem to understand the seriousness of his crime.
Espinosa told the victim's family he was sorry.
But during pre-sentence evaluations, he often laughed and seemed to not understand his fault in the crime, according to reports read in court Thursday. He maintained it was just an accident.
“It wasn't an accident. It was a homicide,” Gibbs said. “This isn't something that just occurred. This was you.
“You entered the life of Dean Schumacher. He didn't deserve it. He wasn't doing anything to deserve it. He wasn't doing anything at all. He was going to work to support his family. He was contributing to society. You contribute nothing. Zero.”
After sentencing, Koss said it doesn't bring Schumacher back, but “it's clearly the appropriate sentence given.”
“It was so tragic, sad, this whole thing is,” he said. “Hopefully, it deters others, lets them know that they're going to pay a price for their actions.”