Sioux Falls man sentenced in fatal texting and driving crash
A Sioux Falls man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for a five-car crash that killed a motorcyclist.
But Brent O'Neal will likely only serve a portion of that time.
O'Neal pleaded guilty last year to a 2012 texting and driving crash that killed 33-year-old Philip Sorensen.
Tuesday in court, he apologized to Sorensen's family.
Philip Sorensen's family spoke during court Tuesday.
His sister Megan told the courtroom what the day of the crash looked like through her eyes.
She says she drove past the scene of the accident before she got to the hospital. And when she arrived, the doctors told her about Philip's condition.
"Grabbed his hand and went over and whispered in his ear 'Phil you got this, come on you're a fighter you can pull through this'," said Megan Sorensen.
When the Sorensen family finished their statements, O'Neal addressed the court.
"It's something I wish I could change every day. And you guys never, never deserve to be put through this pain," he said.
Brent O'Neal was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison with the possibility of parole after four and a half years.
Sorensen's father says that although this will never get easier, he is okay with the sentence.
"I think it was very fair. The judge took everything into consideration. I think for him to do all the different aspects like that, that's all we can ask for. There are no winners," said Terry Sorensen.
During the sentencing, the prosecutors pointed to O'Neals driving record of speeding tickets and reckless driving for the judge to issue a harder sentence.
On the other side, the defense wanted the judge to give him a unique sentence of speaking at schools and spend the anniversary - the day before his birthday - in jail.