(AUDUBON) A Lineville, Iowa man was sentenced in Audubon County District Court today in connection with a fatal accident that occurred on October 19, 2011.
On May 24th, a jury found Kendall Ware guilty of Homicide by Vehicle and Serious Injury by Vehicle. Today, Ware’s Attorney motioned for a new trial saying no reasonable jury could determine, based on evidence presented, that Ware had operation of the motor vehicle while under the influence and that no reasonable jury could have found that Ware, being under the influence, caused the death of 17 year old Kristopher George Crawley and serious injury to Jason Rattenborg. Ware’s attorney also asked for a new trial based on their belief that the court didn’t submit their requested jury instructions.
The Attorney representing the State said they believe the jury had adequate evidence and was properly instructed. Judge James Richardson overruled and denied the motion for a new trial.
Before sentencing began, Judge Richardson gave Kendall Ware and family members of the victims a chance to address the court.
Kendall Ware read an apology to the family. “Every night for almost two years I’ve been trying to think of what I would say to you all, I can’t seem to find the words. There’s really no words for the loss,” said Ware. “Every night I have nightmares and every day I wish it would have been me that passed on instead of your boy.”
The Attorney representing the State read a letter on behalf of Crawley’s mother. She said, “Every night when I go to bed I tell George ‘I love you buddy’, I should not have to tell him this way, I should be able to tell him to his face. My son should be here on Earth with his family and friends. He should be here so I can express my love to him and give him hugs every day. But, he is gone because of your selfishness. It has been one year and eight months and I still find it hard to accept that my son is gone.”
Crawley’s father also briefly spoke this morning after placing a picture of his son in front of Ware.
He said, “This is the son that you took away, he was 17 years old, not only from me, but his family, the State and Audubon County. This kid was going to go places and you stole that from me.”
Jason Rattenborg’s mother said they had a hard time telling their son that his best friend had died. She said her son relives the accident almost every day.
“Jason tells us with every vehicle he meets on the road he is trying to think of a way out just in case they come into his lane. Jason has said to us more than once, ‘Mom, Dad, when will the headlights and sounds, that thunderous crash, the breaking glass, the songs George and I were listening to… when will they ever get out of my head?’”
On the charge of Homicide by Vehicle, Kendall Ware was committed to the custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections to a term no more than 25 years and pay victim restitution to the heirs of George Crawley in the amount of $150,000. He will have to surrender all drivers’ licenses and his driving privileges will be revoked for six years.
On the charge of Serious Injury by Vehicle, Kendall Ware was sentenced to no more than five years in prison, fined $1,250, and must pay restitution to Jason Rattenborg in the amount equal to his damages incurred to include, but not limited to, medical expenses and personal property damages.
The period of incarceration is to run concurrent. Ware was given credit for time served.
Jason Rattenborg of Audubon, was driving a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee north on Highway 71 at around 11:30 on the night of October 19th when the Jeep collided near the centerline with a southbound 2006 Chevy pickup, driven by Kendall Ware. Rattenborg’s passenger, Kristopher George Crawley of Hamlin was killed in the accident. Rattenborg received serious injuries. Ware and his passenger, Mark Piearson of Leon, were both injured. Authorities say Ware had a blood alcohol content of more than two and a half times the legal limit.