David Wilcox will serve six years in prison for the fiery dump truck crash that killed four people and hurt many others on July 29, 2005.
On Wednesday, a judge issued a 10-year sentence, that will be suspended after six years. Once Wilcox is released, he will serve three years probation. The sentence was the maximum allowed under the plea deal Wilcox reached with prosecutors.
"Mr. Wilcox has justly earned every day of the six years the state recommends," Assistant State's Attorney Dennis O'Connor said during the sentencing hearing.
The families of the victims who died, as well as survivors from the crash, addressed the court before the judge handed down the sentence.
"It wasn't an accident. It was a disaster," said Bobbi Stotler, whose son Paul "Chip" Stotler was killed in the crash. She encouraged the judge to sentence David Wilcox to the maximum. "He belongs in jail. In my heart I believe he belonged in jail from the time he did it."
"I still feel the pain of losing her everyday," said Tara Edlund, whose mother Maureen Edlund died in the crash. "When something good happens to me I want to call her. When something bad happens to me, I want to call her. It's only then that I have to remind myself that she is gone."
Mark Robinson, who survived the crash, encouraged the judge to hold Wilcox accountable to send a message to others. "I know I'm very lucky to be alive," Robinson said.
Wilcox owned Bloomfield-based American Crushing & Recycling at the time of the crash and was accused of failing to properly maintain his fleet. A catastrophic brake failure was behind the crash, according to the state.
In March, Wilcox pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter and five counts of assault. He also pleaded no contest to insurance fraud. Prosecutors say he failed to properly maintain the dump truck that careened out of control causing the pileup. They say he also pushed to reinstate insurance coverage just after the crash, even as some of the victims took their final breaths. "Rules don't apparently apply to Mr. Wilcox," O'Connor said.
When it came time for Wilcox to speak during the sentencing hearing, he stood and paused. He then asked his attorney, Raymond Hassett, to read his statement. "I first want to say I'm sorry for what happened. It was a terrible accident and I apologize to you all. I especially apologize to those who lost their loved ones and those who were injured. I can only imagine the pain and loss that you feel and I know your lives have been changed forever," said Hassett, reading from Wilcox's statement.
In imposing the six year prison term, Judge David Gold called what happened "no accident." He also told the families he hopes the sentence helps bring some closure and justice.
"I think justice has been done," said William Farrell, Maureen Edlund's brother. "None of this will bring back my sister Maureen or bring back the other losses that the other families have sustained."
Wilcox's wife Donna and son Shaun left court without comment. They have yet to be sentenced for their roles in the tragedy, but are not expected to receive any prison time.