Driver gets 15 years for fatal DUI accident

2014-01-10T16:00:00Z 2014-01-15T14:41:14Z Driver gets 15 years for fatal DUI accidentBy Patrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A drunk driver who struck and killed a bicyclist and then fled the scene was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Brenden Griffin sentenced Enrique F. Hernandez after a guilty plea to manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident that caused death or serious injury, and DUI.

Hernandez, 25, ran a stop light at Mission and Irvington roads where he plowed into John Akers, who was riding his bike to work.

Hernandez then fled the scene, leaving Akers, 64, to die on the roadside.

“I still can’t believe he’s dead,” said Akers’ widow, Melodee Ramey-Akers. “He was stolen from me, stolen by Enrique Hernandez.”

She said her husband had been riding his bike to work for years after he decided to live a healthier lifestyle. Over the years he lost 90 pounds, she said.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Ryan Schmidt said Akers was an obviously innocent victim, noting he wore a helmet and had reflective gear on his bicycle and clothing.

“He took all the precautions he needed to,” Schmidt said.

The prosecutor also said it was luck that Hernandez didn’t injure any other innocent bystanders the night of the accident after the scene and driving nearly 20 miles, to Ina Road and La Cañada Boulevard.

Hernandez apologized for the accident, saying he was prepared to do his time in prison.

“I’m very sorry for what I did,” he said.

His attorney, Walter Goncalez, said his client has no prior criminal history and had taken responsibility for the accident.

Goncalez disputed the characterization in a pre-sentence report that said Hernandez had not taken responsibility.

Hernandez was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and five years for leaving the scene of a deadly accident. Those prison terms will be served consecutively.

In addition, he’ll have to serve five years probation and 200 hours community service following his release.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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