Kaufman sentenced to 27-50 years for January double fatal accide - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Kaufman sentenced to 27-50 years for January double fatal accident

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A man who pleaded no contest to killing two Scottsbluff teens and injuring two others in a January drunk driving accident has been sentenced.
23-year-old Ethan Kaufman will spend the next 27 to 50 years in prison, and then 3 to 10 years of probation. 

Kaufman was the driver in a crash that claimed the lives of panhandle teens Hallie Anderson and Alexis Wheeler.

Earlier this year, Kaufman pleaded no contest on two counts of aggravated homicide by vehicle, and two counts of driving under the influence, causing serious bodily injury.

Today friends and relatives of the two young girls and Kaufman 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 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, today 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.

Prosecutors say Kaufman was traveling 99 miles per hour, was legally intoxicated and was texting just prior to the accident.

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