Joshua Salayich cried as he asked for leniency from the judge who would sentence him for DUI in the October death of a runner from Utah. The family members of the victim were also in the courthouse, and they had described the pain of losing Jeremy Kunz, a father and youth leader from Kamas, Utah.
The sentence handed down to Salayich was 7 to 20 years in prison. This was slightly more harsh than the 6 to 20 years recommended by parole and probation officials, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Kunz was participating in one leg of a relay race from Valley of Fire State Park to the Red Rock Resort when Salayich hit him while driving at 4:30 a.m.
An eyewitness, another runner in the race, said that Kunz had tried to jump out of the way of the Nissan Altima that would strike and ultimately kill him.
The car rolled over in a cloud of dust. When it finally came to a stop in a lot, the driver got out, grabbed a few things, asked the witness not to call the cops, and walked away.
As a part of Salayich’s plea deal to plead guilty, prosecutors agreed to drop the felony charge of leaving the scene of the crash. Salayich was close to his home in Henderson, Nevada, when the crash occurred.
According to prosecutors, Salayich’s blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.26 percent following the crash, or over three times the legal limit.
“Jeremy’s death was entirely avoidable,” said his wife, Melinda. Jeremy left behind three children. He was what his family called an active community and family member. “My children will not be able to feel their daddy’s arms around them,” she continued in court, adding that she forgave Salayich but that she felt he should still be punished.
“I want the consequences of his actions to be fully applied to him,” she went on. “His actions and their consequences have been fully applied to me. Mercy cannot rob justice.”
“There are no words to say how sorry I am for this,” Salayich said in court. “All it takes is one horrible decision. For the rest of your life you have to live with that.”