DELAWARE, Ohio - Carmen Hecker mostly kept it together as she told the judge what her sister's death, caused by a drunken driver in November, had cost her family and friends: Heidi Hecker would never again organize a pumpkin-carving party, she would never decorate a Christmas tree again, and there would be no more daily phone calls to her sisters.
DELAWARE, Ohio — Carmen Hecker mostly kept it together as she told the judge what her sister’s death, caused by a drunken driver in November, had cost her family and friends: Heidi Hecker would never again organize a pumpkin-carving party, she would never decorate a Christmas tree again, and there would be no more daily phone calls to her sisters.
But when Carmen Hecker told the judge how Heidi’s 14-month-old daughter had started babbling the word “Mama,” her voice began to shake.
“We just keep saying, ‘I know, baby. She’s in heaven,’??” Carmen Hecker told Judge John Bender in Delaware County Common Pleas Court yesterday before asking Bender to impose the maximum sentence on the man convicted in Heidi’s death. Bender had convicted Marc Kraft on Tuesday after a two-day bench trial.
Kraft, 45, of Blendon Township, had six previous drunken-driving convictions and had not had a valid license in 20 years when he slammed his pickup truck into the subcompact car that carried Heidi, her daughter and her boyfriend, Brad Weaver, at the intersection of Rts. 23 and 315 in Delaware on Nov. 8.
Tests showed Kraft’s blood-alcohol content that night was 0.214 percent — almost three times the level at which drivers are presumed to be impaired in Ohio.
“He doesn’t care and isn’t remorseful,” Carmen Hecker said, “or else he wouldn’t continue to do it.”
After listening to Heidi Hecker’s family, Bender agreed, sentencing Kraft to 291/2 years in prison for the crash.
Kraft was convicted on Tuesday of two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, four counts of aggravated vehicular assault and two counts of drunken driving for killing Heidi Hecker and injuring Weaver and the baby. Bender ordered Kraft to serve the time for each charge consecutively.Before he was sentenced, Kraft stood and addressed the judge, then Heidi Hecker’s family and friends: “I just want to say that I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m truly sorry. That’s all.”& amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
Witnesses told investigators that Kraft had been driving between 80 and 100 mph on Rt. 23 before he hit Heidi and Weaver’s Subaru.
It was the second time the Hecker family had lost someone to a drunken driver. Heidi’s mother, Shirley, was on her way to church on Christmas Eve in 2000 when her vehicle was struck head-on and she was killed.
Judd Hecker, Heidi’s father, said he thought Kraft “got what he deserved.”
“It’s been a rough winter,” Judd Hecker said. “I just hope there’s a way that they can keep these guys off the highways so this doesn’t happen to another family.”