ARVADA - Zachary Snyder, 23, received a 10-year sentence Friday for the October 2012 crash that killed 65-year-old Kenneth Mortensen.
At the time of the crash, Snyder had a blood-alcohol level almost four times the legal limit. He changed his plea to guilty a week before his trial.
At his sentencing hearing, the families of both Mortensen and Snyder gave emotional testimonies. The Mortensen family insisted Snyder receive a maximum sentence while Snyder's family pleaded with the court for leniency.
"No punishment is sufficient for such a thoughtless, heartless, criminally cruel killing," Mortensen's cousin Connie Taylor said.
Other family members described the death of the 65-year-old as a powerful emptiness.
"I stand before you, broken, battered, lost, due to the actions of Zachary Snyder," Mortenson's son Kevin said. "He worked 7 days a week for 40 years to provide for us."
Snyder also gave an emotional statement apologizing to the Mortensen family.
"I wish I could tell you why I got in that vehicle that evening and made the choice to drive," Snyder said in tears, "but the honest truth is that I don't have one. I wasn't thinking about anyone but myself. What I took away can never be replaced by saying 'I'm sorry.' That doesn't do justice but from every ounce of my soul, I'm sorry."
Karin Mortensen, Kenneth's wife, says she was pleased with Snyder's 10-year sentence for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
Mortensen was a Vietnam War veteran. He leaves behind a wife, several children and grandchildren.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)