A drunk driver who killed a man when he pulled into the path of his motorcycle on Smithville Highway last year will serve eight years in prison for vehicular homicide.
The drunk driver, Luis A. Martinez, 30, has entered a guilty plea before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to charges of vehicular homicide, failure to render aid, and leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality. He was given an eight-year sentence and must pay $3,000 plus court costs.
The crash, which occurred in October 2010, killed motorcycle rider Michael Guess, 34, who left behind a wife and two children.
During sentencing, Guess’ mother, Inez Guess, speaking briefly before the court, tearfully questioned why Martinez would leave her son to die on the pavement after the wreck.
“Why did you go off and leave him?” Ms. Guess said addressing Martinez after his guilty plea. “You just left him lying there like he was nobody.”
Guess’ comments were echoed by Judge Bart Stanley, who questioned why he would leave the critically injured man.
“It was inexcusable as a human being,” Stanley said.
According to highway patrolman Gary Myers, the wreck happened around 10 p.m. on Smithville Highway at its intersection with Needmore Road near the Shell Station. Witnesses told investigators a white 1989 GMC pickup driven by Martinez made a left turn into the path of Guess’ motorcycle causing the wreck. Guess, who was wearing a helmet and going the speed limit, was ejected after hitting the side of the pickup.
Martinez and his two passengers abandoned the truck immediately after the crash and ran away. Upon his arrival, Myers said he identified the owner of the vehicle as Rudolpho Hernandez through the vehicle registration and went to his residence.
“He said he had loaned the truck to someone but did not know who it was,” Myers said, noting Hernandez was brought to the scene of the crash where he began making phone calls which eventually led to the identity of the driver.
Lawmen then went to a local nursery where Martinez worked and was living and found him in the shower. They took him into custody immediately. It was learned Martinez was in the process of packing to leave the state, a move he had planned prior to the wreck.
“I’m afraid a little later and he would have been gone,” Myers said, noting Martinez was legally in the country and had a valid driver license.
Investigators say Martinez had been packing for his move before the wreck and was returning to his residence with more beer and pizza when the wreck happened.