FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Punishment came Friday for a drunk driver who killed two people while he was driving a big rig. 50-year-old Alonso Hernandez will serve more than 17 years in prison.
A mother and her son died in the July 2014 crash. A father and daughter suffered life-changing injuries. And although Hernandez admitted to his crime, he never asked about his victims.
Death came from behind for the Santos family.
After a long day at work in Fresno County fields, they were driving home when a semi smashed into their back end and smashed their hopes and dreams.
"Reynalda Santos, who was driving the vehicle, has her face so contorted, so damaged that she can barely talk," said Ty Kharazi, an attorney representing the Santos family.
Reynalda was knocked unconscious and into a coma for two months, so she can't remember the impact. But Efren Santos was stuck in the car where he could see his wife, Leticia, and their 14-year-old son, Ricardo, dead in the back seat.
Alonso Hernandez was driving a big rig filled with onions - with a .14 blood alcohol content -- when he split the Santos' car, and their
family, in half.
"He did something that he shouldn't have done," said defense attorney Peter Pacheco. "It's not a mistake, it's a criminal act. And he takes responsibility for that."
But he didn't do that immediately. Kharazi says Hernandez tried to leave the damage behind, but when he hit another truck, he couldn't
drive it any further and police found him on foot not far away.
And even as he's accepted legal responsibility for his crime, and wrote an apology letter, Judge Jonathan Skiles says Hernandez seemed
only concerned about himself.
"There are people dead and seriously injured because you made decisions not because something just happened accidentally that could've happened to anyone," the judge said. "If that hasn't sunk in, it needs to."
The legal BAC limit for commercial truck drivers is .04, so Hernandez was more than three times over the limit.
The Santos family is also suing Hernandez and the companies he worked for. A trial is scheduled for next year.