WEST JORDAN — Jon Madsen had just celebrated 20 years of marriage to the woman he loved and was planning another year of soccer practices and school activities with their five children when he learned she had been killed in a crash caused by a DUI driver.

"All she cared about in life was her kids and her family," Madsen told the judge at a sentencing hearing for Bill Thompson, the driver who killed his wife. "All she did was care about them, and she's gone."

Thompson, 45, was sentenced to 15 years to life for 43-year-old Susan Madsen's death, which jurors earlier this year determined amounted to murder. A zero-to-five-year sentence for driving under the influence, a third-degree felony, will run consecutively as a reminder of the extensive injuries caused to the Madsens' teenage daughter, who was in the car at the time, 3rd District Judge Douglas Hogan explained.

Sentences for the remaining 13 charges against Thompson — including aggravated assault, DUI and domestic violence — will be served concurrently with credit for the time he has already spent in jail.

"There's a family that's broken," Hogan told Thompson as he handed down the sentence. "There's nothing this court can do about the loss that has been suffered. There's nothing you can do."

Thompson lost his composure and began to weep as he read a letter apologizing to the Madsen family as well as his own, clasping his shackled hands. He quoted prosecutors who told jurors at his trial, "I'm sure Bill is a great guy, just not that day."

"I can honestly say that was not me that day. I'm ashamed and I'm embarrassed by my actions," Thompson said through tears. "I hope someday you can all accept that I understand the enormity of this tragic accident."

Rudy Bautista, Thompson's attorney, maintained that his client knows he was wrong to drive drunk and that he deeply regrets the tragedy. However, Thompson's actions were not deliberate, he argued, explaining that the haze of alcohol as he battled Xanax withdrawals left him unaware of the consequences of what he was doing and pushed him to act out of character.

Prosecutors, however, said Thompson's behavior fit with a long history of reckless driving, domestic violence and heavy drinking, citing Thompson's criminal history.

Salt Lake County deputy district attorney Sandi Johnson argued that despite days of heavy drinking, Thompson was fully aware of the risk he posed when he left home after a fight, deliberately hitting the accelerator in his large pickup truck and crashing into Susan Madsen's vehicle on May 8, 2014. Madsen was pronounced dead at the scene of the violent seven-car crash at Lone Peak Parkway and 12300 South.

Thompson was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.22, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08. Before getting into his truck, Thompson had become enraged during a fight in his home where he argued with his wife, then punched a woman who was staying with them and a neighbor who tried to intervene.

Thompson was found guilty in June of murder, a first-degree felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony. He began the trial by pleading guilty to several DUI and domestic violence related charges against him, leaving it up to the jury to decide whether Madsen's death was murder or an accident.

Jurors were given the option but declined to convict Thompson of one of three lesser charges: manslaughter, criminal automobile homicide or negligent automobile homicide.

The Madsen family has struggled deeply since Susan's death, especially working to overcome rifts and anger in the lives of the five children, Jon Madsen said in court. For 14-year-old Tessa Madsen, who was critically injured in the crash, grief over her mother's death is accompanied by shame from the extensive scarring on her body and ongoing physical therapy.

"She's completely embarrassed, it looks like a shark bit her leg," her father explained. "She sits in my room almost every day, hiding. … We have to beg her to go out with friends."

Madsen noted that Thompson's case is distinct, as he faced a murder charge rather than a lesser count of automobile homicide.

"We just don't want this to happen to somebody else, so we hope it sets a precedent and a standard that you can't just go out and do this," Madsen said as he left the courtroom.

Thompson's family, emotional following the hearing, did not comment on the sentence. In a statement released when Thompson was found guilty earlier this year, the family said, "There are no winners today. Bill has three beautiful children who will grow up without their father. The Madsen family no longer has a mother. Bill and his family are mindful of their loss and only hope they can forgive Bill and heal."

Bautista repeated his earlier assertions as he left the courthouse Wednesday that Thompson will be appealing the decision.

"When we have people out there intentionally killing people, that's what (a murder charge) is for," Bautista said. "This is a tragic mistake he should be held accountable for it, but we're going to argue in the Court of Appeals and the (Utah) Supreme Court that the charges should be amended to automobile homicide."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero