INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The man accused of killing a Colts football player and an Uber driver during a crash on I-70 has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
In February, police say Manuel Orrego-Savala crashed his F-150 into a car parked on the shoulder of I-70. He was driving with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit.
The crash killed 26-year-old Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver, 54-year-old Jeffery Monroe. After hearing from family members from both victims, the judge handed down the maximum possible sentence of 16 years.
The suspect, Manuel Orrego-Savala, offered no apologies in court, but he did in a hand-written letter.
Monroe’s widow says the pain caused the suspect will last forever.
“He took away something more precious than anything. Jeff was everything to me. We were everything to each other,” said Monroe’s widow, Deborah Monroe.
In July, Orrego-Savala pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death while operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .15 or higher. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped two additional felonies of leaving the scene of an accident. A sentence between 10 and 16 years was expected.
During the sentencing, Orrego-Savala stayed quiet in court and never said a single word.
Last month, he wrote a letter to Judge Grant Hawkins,admitting he has a drinking problem and adding, “I was not trying to kill or hurt anyone. I ask the family- the courts- and God to all please forgive me.”
His attorney says that remorse is real and didn’t question the judge’s 16-year sentence.
“It’s completely understandable. No one wins at sentencing hearings. I hope both families can move on quickly and successfully,” said defense attorney John Tompkins.
Monroe’s widow wishes the state laws would have allowed for a tougher sentence, but hopes federal charges stemming from the suspect’s illegal entry into the country adds some extra time behind bars.
“I’m grateful he was an illegal immigrant, because our federal government will give him 10 more years. So that’s 26 years he’ll spend in prison for what he did,” said Monroe.
Federal authorities say the Guatemalan man came to the country illegally in 2004. He was deported in 2007 and in 2009. He illegally re-entered the country, federal authorities said, and now faces a federal immigration charge.