Almost one year ago, Ronald Jayne Jr. sped through a stop sign in northwest Las Vegas, going about 80 mph in a 35 mph zone, and slammed into a Mercedes sport utility vehicle, killing five people and critically injuring three others.
Jayne, now 20, had more than twice the legal blood-alcohol limit and, at the time of the accident, was driving from a party to get cigarettes.
Although the May 5 crash was catastrophic for the family inside the Mercedes, Jayne walked away from it with minor injuries. While horrified onlookers rushed to pull the victims from the Mercedes, county prosecutor Bruce Nelson said, Jayne sat down on a curb, lit a cigarette and said: "Well, I guess I'm in trouble now."
On Friday, District Judge David Wall sentenced Jayne to 15 to 45 years in prison and ordered him to pay more than $200,000 in restitution to the victims of the crash, which occurred at the intersection of Farm Road and Tenaya Way.
Jayne, who has no other serious criminal history, sobbed in the courtroom while apologizing for killing five people, including two boys ages 13 and 9 and two girls ages 2 and 7 months.
"I want to tell all of you that I am so sorry for what I did. It was horrible. I'll never forget the shock of that night and the horror. And I know I caused that," he said.
Jayne, an Army reservist, was with the 257th Transportation Company. His company is serving in Iraq, Jayne's attorney said.
Knowing that he would have to spend time in prison for the collision, Jayne said he hopes to warn teenagers about the danger of drinking and driving when he gets out.
"I hope someday I can still be a productive member of society," he said. "I just hope I can make it back."
Jayne made his comments in a nearly packed courtroom at the Regional Justice Center. The courtroom was adorned with large photos of the victims set up on easels.
On one side of the courtroom sat Jayne's family and supporters. On the other side sat relatives and friends of the victims.
Many of the victims' supporters wore white shirts with photos of the victims on the front.
People on both sides cried throughout much of the 90-minute sentencing hearing.
Killed in the crash were the driver of the Mercedes, 32-year-old Claudia Dominguez, a mother of two who worked as a saleswoman at the Tesorini jewelry store at the Bellagio; 13-year-old Gustavo Dominguez; 9-year-old Fernando Santacruz; 2-year-old Anna Itzelic Miranda and 7-month-old Katherine Luna.
Gustavo, a ninth-grader, was scheduled to go to Disneyland with his school band the week of the crash.
A handful of the victims' relatives asked Wall to sentence Jayne to life in prison. Most described how holidays and birthdays were now sorrowful events without the children around.
"No more movies for the kids, no more weekly get-togethers," said Mario Dominguez, Claudia Dominguez's uncle.
Juan Miranda, the father of Anna Itzelic, said he had moved without his family to Las Vegas in 2006 to make a better life for them. He recalled how difficult life without them was, especially because his daughter was so young and didn't know him well.
Miranda said he brought his family to Las Vegas in March 2007, less than two months before the crash. He described those few weeks as "a dream come true."
Family members said Miranda's family came from Ensenada, Mexico.
But on May 5, Miranda's wife and son were injured in the crash and his daughter killed.
"If I could give my life for hers (Anna Itzelic), I would do it without hesitation," he said. "But I can't, and I have to live with this grief for the rest of my life."
Erika Romero, sister-in-law of Claudia Dominguez, spoke with controlled rage during the hearing.
"You ruined our family," she said.
In February, Jayne pleaded guilty to eight felony counts of causing death or substantial bodily harm while driving under the influence.
Nelson, the county prosecutor, argued that Jayne should spend 24 to 64 years in prison to send a warning to others who drink and drive.
After the hearing, several family members of the victims said they wished Jayne had received a stiffer sentence.
Mario Dominguez, from Texas, said he would attend every one of Jayne's parole and probation hearings to ensure that he stays in prison for as long as possible.
"If I have to come back every month, I'll be here every month," he said.
Contact reporter David Kihara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.