Kaufman sentenced to 27 - 50 years following tear-filled hearing - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Kaufman sentenced to 27 - 50 years following tear-filled hearing

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A Goshen County judge has sentenced 23-year-old Ethan C. Kaufman to spend the next 27 to 50 years in prison for his involvement in a fatal crash that claimed the lives of two Scottsbluff teens.

Judge Keith Kautz handed down the sentence Monday morning in District Court of the Eighth Judicial District.

On January 9th, 2013, Kaufman was driving a vehicle that crashed and killed passengers Hallie Anderson and Alexis Wheeler, and seriously injured Tyler Hill and Stetson Allen.

Following a lengthy investigation from the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Kaufman was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated homicide by vehicle, and two counts of driving under the influence, causing serious bodily injury.

In September, Kaufman pleaded no contest to those charges.

Today friends and relatives of the two young girls delivered tear-filled statements about how the accident has impacted their lives.

"My worst fear is walking into the ER and seeing a loved one," says Anderson's sister Nicole, who was working as a nurse in the emergency room the night her younger sister was brought into the hospital.   "You made my worst fear come true."

"We did not get to talk her down the aisle on her wedding day," Alexis Wheeler's parents spoke in a statement.  "Instead we walked her down the aisle in a casket."

Those close to Kaufman also took the stand, defending the young man's kind personality and good work ethic.

"He's a bright kid with a heart of gold," close family friend Crystal Heppner says with tear-filled eyes and a cracking voice.  "He tries real hard to make others happy."

"He has great work ethic and he goes above and beyond what he needs to do," says former employer Travis Berdman.  "He's a good person."

At the end of an emotional hearing, Kaufman was sentenced to serve no less than 12-years and no more than 20-years for each count of aggravated homicide buy vehicle.  In addition, Kaufman received a sentence of no less than three-years and no more than ten-years for each count driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury.  After serving time for the first three charges, Kaufman will serve the final sentence of three-to-ten years on parole. 

Goshen County Attorney Patrick Korell says evidence and witness statements during Kaufman's preliminary hearing indicated he was traveling 99 miles per hour, was legally intoxicated and was texting just prior to the accident.

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