HURON COUNTY (WJRT) -
(06/05/14) - A Huron County man will spend nearly a year in jail for his role in a traffic crash that killed four people, including two young teens.
That family was headed to the Huron County Fair last July, when their pick up was hit by a driver who ran a stop sign.
In an instant, so many lives and so many families were affected. Some of the victims' relatives had to re-live their pain on Thursday.
The stop sign that stands at the corner of Stein and Maxwell Roads in Oliver Township is 40-year-old Joshua Heck, 38-year-old Jessica Heck, their son 13-year-old Taylor Heck and his friend 13-year-old Brenden Smith died.
Twenty-three-year-old Andrew Braun plead no contest last month to six misdemeanor criminal counts in connection with those deaths and the injuries suffered by two other people in the Heck's pickup.
The investigation showed Braun had not been drinking, and was not talking on a cell phone or texting when he went through the stop sign. One by one, Huron County prosecutor Tim Rutkowski remembered the victims.
"Brenden was a great young man who was destined for great things," Rutkowski said.
Before he was sentenced, Braun gave a tearful apology.
"Not a day goes by that I wish I could go back to that day, do whatever I could to make myself stop," Braun said.
Noting that Braun had two previous speeding tickets and had been in two other minor accidents, District Court Judge David Herrington sentenced him to 330 days in jail and two years probation, plus fines and costs, close to the maximum sentence allowed.
"She was my baby sister, and my best friend," said Shelly Langley, Jessica Heck's sister.
Langley doesn't like a recent change in Michigan law that limited the charges against Braun to misdemeanors, instead of felonies.
"Although I am happy he got the maximum he could get, to me their lives were worth more than one year," she said.
The families remind everyone to obey the road signs.
"We wanted people to know, there are consequences, take 30 seconds and stop," Langley said.
Jacob Heck lost a brother and a nephew in the car crash.
"The fact that he has to live with this his whole life is going to be hard enough on him," he said.
That appears to be the case with Braun.
"I'm truly sorry and I know I will remember this for the rest of my life," he said.
While the criminal case is now, there are civil lawsuits related to the matter in Huron County Circuit Court.