Personal Injury Lawyer
47-year-old Matthew Park, who killed three children on the morning of August 10, 2019, has been sentenced to a minimum of 17.5 years in prison, reports the Idaho Mountain Times (https://www.mtexpress.com/news/cops_courts/fairfield-man-sentenced-to-17-years-for-fatal-accident/article_fb7ba57a-d2bd-11ea-a081-13053946d753.html).
Park pleaded guilty to several charges in connection with the deaths, including one aggravated count of driving under the influence and three counts of vehicular manslaughter.
Three young sisters—Drayka Rayshell, 3, Kya Lurak, 5, and Aneena Lurak, 6—were sleeping in their car seats in the back of a Dodge Neon their parents were driving when the car was rear-ended by Park’s vehicle. The crash killed the two older sisters immediately. The youngest, Drayka, was critically injured and died at an area hospital later that same day.
Somchai Lurak, the father of the young victims, was driving at the time, with his fiancé in the passenger seat. The accident also left Lurak partially paralyzed.
The family’s Neon was stopped at a construction light on US Highway 20 when Park, who approached the light going around 85 miles per hour, did not see the Neon’s brake lights and struck the car at about 53 miles per hour, according to an accident reconstruction carried out by the Idaho State Police.
According to the prosecutor in this case, the truck Park was driving at the time, a 2500 Dodge pickup, weighed around 6,000 pounds, which is about double the weight of the family’s Neon. On impact, the truck drove right over the top of the rear of the Neon. Park tried to back up and off of the car several times as the young victims and parents were trapped inside.
Park submitted to a breathalyzer test at the accident scene. His blood alcohol concentration came back at over twice the legal limit of 0.08 in the state.
Relatives and friends of both the Lurak and Park families were at the sentencing hearing, and emotions ran high. Emma Weigand, Lurak’s fiancé and the other passenger in the Neon, read a statement about their daughters. Lurak also gave a victim impact statement, telling the court he is now confined to a wheelchair and may never be able to do all the things he once loved, such as hiking and fishing, again.
Five people testified on behalf of the defendant as well, saying he was a kind man who should not be entirely judged by one moment in his life.
In the end, the judge followed the recommendation of the prosecutor in this case, which included five fixed years for each manslaughter charge. Upon the end of the mandated sentence, Park will be at least 64 years old before he is released. He will have a suspended license to drive for five years and will have to have an interlock device in any vehicle he drives for the rest of his life.
There is also a restitution hearing to be schedule in the future to determine Park’s responsibility to the victims for medical expenses, which already exceed $250,000.
A drunk driver can cause enormous damage to victims. If you’ve been a victim of a person driving under the influence, contact our personal injury lawyer in Denver, CO from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for assistance.