Judge sentences dump truck driver who killed 4 motorcyclistsPosted: Updated:
The dump truck driver who ran over and killed four motorcyclists on Carefree Highway has been sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Judge Joseph Welty sentenced Michael Jakscht, 49, in court on Friday afternoon on four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault and four counts of endangerment. The judge said Jakscht will receive credit for the 2 1/2 years he's already served.
It's hard for the survivors to forget the horrific scene of mangled motorcycles, fellow riders strewn about on the Carefree Highway after being run over by a 12-ton dump truck and the deaths of four of their friends.
The crash happened on March 25, 2010.
"Everything's changed," said Lorri Lizarraga of that day in March 2010.
She was in the courtroom Friday when Jakscht learned how long he'll pay for his crimes.
"He's going to feel the impact of what he's done," Lizarraga said after she read her statement to the court.
She said she's hoping it will get through to the man who forever changed her family's lives and those of so many others.
"He has shown no remorse. He's never apologized," Lizarraga said.
Jakscht tested positive for methamphetamine after he plowed through 10 motorcycles and three other vehicles that were stopped at a red light.
Four motorcyclists died and five others were seriously hurt, including Lorri Lizarraga's husband, Ernie Lizarraga, who suffered a traumatic brain injury.
"I never forget. Never," said the man who had to learn to walk and talk again.
Ernie Lizarraga was a captain with the Phoenix Fire Department. He was a paramedic and fitness trainer before the crash.
"Now, as you can see, it's hard to walk 10 feet. So it's changed my life a whole lot. And my family's," he said.
He said today is the end of a very long road.
"It's been a long time, and I want to have closure," Ernie Lizarraga said.
But his wife said she believes even life in prison won't be enough.
"We have the life sentence, actually. He's got it a lot easier than we do. I wish I could sentence him to a lifetime of a traumatic brain injury," Lorri Lizarraga said.
The biker community showed its support Friday as motorcyclists lined Jefferson Street outside the courthouse Friday morning.
"The more bikes we can get out there, the better, just to show our unity and our fellowship and, most of all, our support for the families and the friends of victims of this tragedy," said Pam Anders of AZ Riders.
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