A 25-year-old man was sentenced on Friday to 24 to 80 years in prison for a drunken driving crash that killed four people and severely injured five others standing at a bus stop in September 2012.
Gary Lee Hosey Jr. pleaded guilty to four counts of DUI with death and one count of DUI with substantial bodily harm in August. As part of a deal, prosecutors dropped four other charges.
District Judge Jennifer Togliatti ordered the lengthy prison term, which was agreed to by both prosecutors and Hosey’s defense lawyers.
Togliatti’s courtroom was packed with victims, their families and Hosey’s family. Many were crying during the sentencing hearing.
Hosey, dressed in navy blue jail scrubs with his arms and legs shackled, said “I’m so sorry for what I did.”
He also wrote personal apology letters to the victims’ families.
Hosey’s lawyer, deputy public defender Ben Little, said his client has a big heart and he took the plea deal because he didn’t want to put the victims’ families through a lengthy trial that would feature thousands of gruesome photographs and video footage of the crash. The plea deal means Hosey won’t have a chance at parole until he’s nearly 50 years old.
Jessica Amaya testified at the hearing about the loss of her stepbrother Gerber Hernan Ayala-Tomasino Jr., who was one of the four people killed in the crash.
Weeping, Amaya said there aren’t enough words to describe the hurt and the pain Amaya and her family feel for their loss.
But Amaya said she knew Hosey didn’t intend to kill her brother or the others that day and she recognized that Hosey’s family was also experiencing tremendous loss.
“We know it was an honest mistake. It happened. There’s nothing we can do about it. We do forgive you for what happened,” Amaya said. “I don’t believe he purposely did it. But it doesn’t make it okay, what you did. He could have called a taxi or had some other source of getting home instead of speeding and killing four innocent people.”
Upon handing down the sentence, Togliatti ordered Hosey to pay $15,723 in restitution and fines. She also said that if he’s released from prison, he must install an ignition interlock device or alcohol Breathalyzer for any vehicle he owns for three years.
Togliatti gave Hosey credit for already serving 414 days in jail.
Afterward, prosecutor Eric Bauman said there was no way any sentence, regardless of the number of years, could make up for the lives that were lost. But the deal prosecutors made was “justice under the laws that stand,” Bauman said.
Blood tests showed that Hosey was just below the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol level two hours after the crash.
He was also found to have had marijuana in his system.
Prosecutors believe the combination of marijuana and alcohol caused severe impairment that led to the crash.
According to his arrest report, Hosey told police that before the crash, he drank only one beer with friends at an Ethiopian bar near the bus stop at Spring Mountain Road and Decatur Boulevard.
Police said the 2001 Monte Carlo was traveling at a high speed when it went airborne at the intersection and slammed into the crowded bus stop about 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 13, 2012.
Along with Ayala-Tomasino Jr., 24, Johnni Lee Garner, 49, Margoth Gonzalez, 65, and Hyon Cooley, 47, were also killed.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.