Judge shows mercy to contrite bee trucker in fatal crash - New York News

Judge shows mercy to contrite bee trucker in fatal crash

Posted: Updated:

The truck driver whose distraction behind the wheel resulted in a crash that killed two women, an unborn child and released thousands of honey bees will go to jail -- but his sentence will be short after the judge showed mercy to the father of three.

Jason Strybicky, 38, of Buffalo, was sentenced to a fraction of the time he could have faced -- in part because of the remorse he showed after the crash.

Two years ago, Strybicky was driving a semi-trailer full of honey bees when he came upon a traffic jam on Interstate 35 in Lakeville and slammed into two stopped cars. During his trial, he admitted to taking his eyes off the road while reaching for an energy drink.

The crash was horrific, crushing two cars between semis and releasing millions of bees.

The case was one that highlighted the power of both contrition and forgiveness. One of the victim's families told the judge they would be fine with no prison time at all for Strybicky, saying the crash could have happened to anyone.

"He didn't plan to do this," said Todd Brinkhaus. "It's not like he's intentionally holding a gun -- but I suppose, if you had a semi, it's pretty much like having a loaded gun."

Brinkaus' wife, Pamela, was killed in the crash. Her family told the judge that "neither side wins" in the tragedy, but the family of 24-year-old Kari Rasmussen didn't want Strybicky to spend time behind bars. In fact, Rasmussen's husband told the judge the crash was "just an accident."

"Each victim reacts differently," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "Some are willing to open their hearts and offer forgiveness, and some are not quite ready to do that at the time sentencing occurs."

State guidelines called for a four-year prison sentence for each of the three victims -- including Rasmussen's unborn child; however, considering the requests of the victims' family members and Strybicky's remorse, the judge opted for one year in jail and 40 hours of community service spent speaking to drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

"Everybody can screw up," said John Cummings, of Minnesotans for Safe Driving. "It's what you do afterwards that tells who you are."

Minnesotans for Safe Driving organizes victim impact panels, and he says Strybicky's story has the power to save other lives.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:28:27 GMT
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
  • Car strikes toddler; driver arrested

    Car strikes toddler; driver arrested

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:15:49 GMT
    Police on Long Island say a 30-year-old driver has been arrested in connection with an accident that injured a 3-year-old girl being pushed in a stroller. Police say Scott Shea of Middle Island was driving a Jeep northbound on William Floyd Parkway, just south of Montauk Highway, when he struck the toddler at about 3:45 p.m. Monday.
    Police on Long Island say a 30-year-old driver has been arrested in connection with an accident that injured a 3-year-old girl being pushed in a stroller. Police say Scott Shea of Middle Island was driving a Jeep northbound on William Floyd Parkway, just south of Montauk Highway, when he struck the toddler at about 3:45 p.m. Monday.
  • Lawsuit settlements reached in Metro-North crash

    Lawsuit settlements reached in Metro-North crash

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:39 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:39:39 GMT
    Four of 28 people who sued the Metro-North Railroad in federal court after being injured in a Bridgeport train crash last year have settled with the commuter railroad.
    Four of 28 people who sued the Metro-North Railroad in federal court after being injured in a train crash in Connecticut last year have settled with the commuter railroad.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices