HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A widower turned his back at the drunk driver who killed a beloved wife and mother.
Ryan Gurecki of Lindenhurst has been sentenced to 6 years and no more than 18 years for the drunk driving car crash that killed 56-year-old Karen Holden, a married mother of two and longtime nurse.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, exactly how long he stays behind bars will be up to his rehabilitation while imprisoned, and the recommendations of the parole board.
Gurecki’s attorney is Dan Sullivan.
“He’s indicated to me that he wants to be over and above a model prisoner. He wants to take advantage of everything you can to help other people while he’s there,” Sullivan said.
Prosecutors sand the victims’ family and friends asked the judge to factor in Gurecki’s tarnished record with other DWIs, a license suspension, and accidents dating back to 2002.
He admitted that he drank 5 beers on June 26, and got behind the wheel and slammed into the Holden family’s vehicle on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station. Karen was killed, her husband William and son Robert were injured.
“This was a sad day for everyone, and this was not only a sentencing for Ryan correctly, but we were all sentenced to a life without her,” Karen’s sister Lynne Pallmeyer said.
Pallmeyer said the 35-year-old Gurecki should not get out of prison a day before his 56th birthday, which would be the maximum sentence and then some.
“She died at 56 years, 6 months, and 26 days, and that’s when her life should’ve been going on, and I’m hoping Ryan Gurecki can somehow be an example to other people to think first, and please don’t drink and drive,” she said.
The victims’ husband had no comments for reporters as he left the courthouse. He gave a long list of reasons to the judge, and said Gurecki killed a big part of him too, and that he deserved no leniency.
During Holden’s emotional speech about his wife he said he did not want to hear Gurecki apologize, so when he started to say he was sorry Holden stood up in court and turned his back on him.
As the family tries to move on, they said they will focus on community activism and are glad to be working with Karen’s employer St. Francis Hospital on a scholarship program for young nurses.