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Drunk Driver Gets 18 Years in Long Island Wedding Crash

Posted on March 7, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

MINEOLA, N.Y. — A drunken driver was sentenced to 18 years-to-life in prison for a rare murder conviction in the deaths of a limousine chauffeur and a seven-year-old flower girl heading home from a wedding. Emotional relatives of the two victims faced Martin Heidgen, 25, in the courtroom and told him about their loss, while each urged the judge to give him the maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.

Heidgen showed no reaction to his lighter sentence, while Neil Flynn, whose daughter died in the July 2005 crash, grimaced in disappointment. Heidgen had downed at least 14 drinks when his pickup truck, driving the wrong way on a Long Island parkway, struck the wedding limousine head-on and killed Stanley Rabinowitz, 59, and Katie Flynn.

Prosecutors, who showed jurors a video of the crash several times during the trial, contend Heidgen never tried to stop and turned slightly toward the limousine moments before impact. Arguing he was in "self-destruct mode," they convinced a jury that Heidgen's actions constituted a "depraved indifference to human life." Heidgen’s attorney didn't deny that his client should be held responsible, but said he was not a murderer.

Source: Associated Press

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