It’s sad to see lax plea deals arranged in serious cases where deaths are involved, but that was the reason behind the sentence of only 15 years in the drunk-driving crash that took the lives of Diane Bronson and her daughter Anna. The two were killed in a head-on smash-up with illegal alien Mexican Felix Solano-Gallardo who was driving in the wrong lane for an estimated 14 miles and had a blood alcohol level of twice the legal amount. An earlier news report noted that Solano-Gallardo could have gotten a sentence of up to 35 years.
Below, Diane and Anna Bronson were killed as they drove to meet family members for a Fourth of July celebration.
Drunken driver sentenced to 15 years for killing Belton mom, daughter, Kansas City Star, March 09, 2012
A Jackson County judge sentenced a 19-year-old Mexican man Friday to 15 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a Belton woman and her 11-year-old daughter.
Felix Solano-Gallardo admitted in January that he was driving the wrong way on Interstate 435 near 63rd Street when he crashed into a car carrying Diane Bronson, 44, and her daughter, Anna Bronson.
He also admitted that his blood-alcohol level that day was more than twice the legal limit.
Solano-Gallardo could have received up to 30 years in prison under his plea agreement. He received two 15-year sentences, which will run concurrently.
Police said they believed Solano-Gallardo had been driving the wrong way for at least 14 miles because they think he ran a driver off of Interstate 70 into a concrete median near Harrison Street earlier. The victim told police the driver drove at him from one side of the highway to the other and appeared to be trying to hit him, police said.
At least nine motorists called 911 to complain about a wrong-way driver on I-70 or I-435 that morning.
His correct name and age were unclear throughout his prosecution. Immediately after his arrest, he gave investigators the Solano-Gallardo name, though he later told immigration officers that his correct name was Luis Solano-Barrera. Under that name, he also gave a birth date that would have made him 23 years old.
But under oath at his plea hearing, he said his name was Solano-Gallardo and that he was 19 years old.