PROVO — Two young boys will grow up without a father, and no amount of prison time will bring back a loving husband who was killed by a driver speeding away from police, reportedly under the influence of methamphetamines.
Miguel Martinez-Montero, 33, died on June 15 in Provo after his car was thrown across two lanes of traffic and into a concrete barrier by a car driven by Steven Louis Phillippe. Phillippe, 50, had led police on a chase through Provo and Orem and ended up exiting a parking lot at nearly 60 mph.
"Her whole life has been turned upside down," said Alex Maynez, attorney for Martinez-Montero's widow, who didn't come to court but wrote a letter to the judge as part of Tuesday's sentencing that expressed her emotions.
"(Phillippe's) going to be in prison for a while, but he can expect to get out," Maynez said. "She will never see her husband again. It's tough for her to explain that to her kids."
The boys, 8 and 10 years old, are staying with grandparents in Mexico, Maynez said.
Phillippe stood at the podium with his head down, listening to his attorney ask the judge to allow him credit for 123 days he's already served in jail and that his two felony charges of automobile homicide and failure to stop at the command of an officer be served concurrently in prison.
"This is a difficult sentencing because it does involve the loss of life," said public defender Debbie Hill, who told the court her client frequently teared up and expressed remorse for his actions.
Hill said her client has had a difficult life and only has one prior misdemeanor on his record. The chase started that day because he left the house very emotionally distraught, and his family called police, who tried to catch him to talk with him. He continued to speed away from them and eventually ended at the bottom of the State Street hill in Provo, where he crashed into Martinez-Montero.
"This is devastating to him, and the fact that he has caused this pain to other people is very devastating to him," Hill said. "He understands the gravity of this offense. It is a serious event in my client's mind, and he doesn't know how to apologize at this point. All he can do is take responsibility for his actions. He hopes that upon his release to hopefully financially help the family of the deceased in this matter."
Deputy Utah County Attorney Alex Ludlow said he feels sympathetic for the defendant's family problems and rough background, but the facts of the case speak for themselves.
"What actually took place (was a) very egregious circumstance," Ludlow said. "The state sees no other alternative than to sentence this individual to go to prison."
Phillippe was sentenced to zero to five years on the charge of failing to stop at the command of police and one to 15 years in prison for the charge of automobile homicide.
Judge Steven Hansen said he would recommend credit for the 123 days Phillippe already served in the Utah County Jail.