An Arizona dump truck driver convicted of numerous charges for the 2010 deaths of four motorcyclists has been sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Welty handed down the sentence Friday afternoon. The question beforehand was, would his prison terms be concurrent, or consecutive? The judge decided on concurrent terms, meaning they run at the same time.
Back in August, jurors returned guilty verdicts against Michael Jakscht on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment.
Jakscht plowed his 12-ton truck into a group of motorcyclists stopped at a north Phoenix traffic light on March 25, 2010. Four motorcyclists died and five others were injured in the fiery accident.
Phoenix police said toxicology tests showed Jakscht had methamphetamine in his system. Jakscht's attorneys had argued that he had taken diet pills and that the brakes on his truck weren't working well.
In court Friday, friends and loved ones described the unbearable pain Jakscht put them through.
"The court should not show Jakscht an ounce of mercy, the trickle down damage is unfathomable," said Paul Totonchi, whose wife was killed.
"His choice without any regard for other people was so arrogantly taken and he put others' lives in his hands," said Lorri Lizarraga, wife of the off-duty Phoenix firefighter who was seriously injured.
In his defense, Jakscht said, "Your honor, I know how the prosecutor and uninformed public have portrayed me, I am not that person. I pray you see truth of this situation and pray it will reflect in a mitigated sentence here today."
Now 49 years old, Jakscht will not get out of prison until he about 72. Jakscht will receive credit for approximately 2-and-a-half years of incarceration time already served.
The families of the victims accepted the sentence, but were clearly disappointed.
After the sentencing, Totonchi said, "This is going to kill us for the rest of our lives and all he gets to do is 26 years and he has had zero remorse."
"It is not enough because the younger grand kids and family will see him walk and that is not right, so we are really disappointed," said Frank Rich, father of one of the victims.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.