Farmworker sentenced for crash that killed Parlier High School teacher

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "Lives have been affected and changed forever."

Lori Bristol shared an emotional victim impact statement in court Friday - nearly two years after losing her husband in a tragic crash.

Retired U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Mark Bristol was riding his motorcycle in Fresno County in August of 2019 when a Jeep turned in front of him.

The 54-year old Parlier NJROTC teacher died on the first day of school and just five months after he and Lori were married.

"I never thought I would be planning a wedding and funeral in the same year," she said.

37-year-old Luis Rodolfo Giron-Palma was behind the wheel of that Jeep. The judge described the defendant as a father of four and a farmworker who was on his way home when he crashed into Bristol.

Palma pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. While the maximum possible sentence is 364 days, the prosecution requested 90 days.

But the judge ordered Palma to complete 60 days of the adult offender work program, saying he had no criminal history, no traffic tickets and was not found to be under the influence.

"They didn't check that Mr. Giron-Palma was intoxicated, he was not arrested, they didn't find him likely to endanger others, there were none of those things present," the judge said.

Bristol's widow and friends were not happy with the sentence.

"He killed a man and all he has to do is adult work defender program," Lori said. "He has to go out, clean up toilets and that's not fair. He took my husband's life."
We reached out to Giron-Palma's attorney but did not hear back. Prosecutors also declined to comment.

Bristol says as she tries to find closure, she also plans to advocate for the safety of motorcyclists so other families don't have to endure the same type of loss that she has.
Related topics:
fresnofatal crash
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.