Drunken Driver Who Caused Death of Illinois Couple Sentenced

Associated Press

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) – A man whose aggravated drunken driving caused the death of a Wood River couple has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Telegraph reports that 28-year-old Jeffrey Rynders of Alton was sentenced by a circuit judge Wednesday after a police officer testified that Rynders was yelling at other drivers on Sept. 15, 2013, before turning in front of a motorcycle carrying Gary Wright and his wife, Lora Wright.

Det. Marcos Pulido testified that Gary Wright was pronounced dead shortly after the accident, but Lora Wright died months later in a hospital.

Police said Rynders had been drinking and smoking marijuana. His blood-alcohol level was 0.2 percent, almost three times the legal limit.

Circuit Judge Kyle Napp at Wednesday’s hearing gave Rynders the maximum sentence allowed under a previous plea bargain. She exercised her authority to sentence Rynders to consecutive terms, resulting in two 10-year terms. She noted the suffering of the victims’ families.

“They sound like incredibly lovey people,” the judge said, noting that they are unlikely to recover from their grief. “It will never go away for them,” Napp said.

Rynders apologized for his actions at the hearing, but the judge said his apology was blunted by the fact that he has two prior felony convictions.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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