Emotional sentencing for 74-year-old drunk driver who killed Stanley Dulaney

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MIDLAND (WJRT) (6/28/2019) - A 74-year-old retired police officer will spend at least six years in prison for his role in a deadly drunk driving crash that killed Mid-Michigan businessman Stanley Dulaney.

Retired police officer Gary Gatza was sentenced to spend 6 to 15 years in prison for the drunken driving crash that killed Stanley Dulaney.

Gary Gatza of Saginaw Township pleaded no contest to the crime on Friday and was sentenced during the same emotional hearing. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but the court treats it as one.

Several of Dulaney's loved ones talked about how the 45-year-old's death has affected their lives before the judge handed down a sentence.

"It was hard to fathom, as some people said, because my father was a fighter," Drew Dulaney told the court. "He wasn't the type to go down. He fought every day of his life to do what the thought was best for his family, to provide for everyone who came in his vicinity."

He believes his father sacrificed his life in the crash to save the rest of his family.

The family is heartbroken at the horrors drunk driving can cause, leading to emotions that are difficult to contain. Dulaney's wife, Marissa Dill, can't shake the memories of that New Year's Day.

"I think about that day almost every moment of my life now," she said.

Dill, who received serious injuries in the crash, has vivid memories of her husband's final moments.

"I screamed 'Stan!' and Stan tried to turn out of the way, but the defendant's car was coming too fast," she said.

The family harbors strong feelings of anger toward Gatza. Dulaney's son Brandon, who also was badly injured, had pointed words for him.

"Watching the brazen expression on your face, stone cold, you can't even look at me right now. It's really sad," Brandon told Gatza in court.

Dulaney's father, Stanley Dulaney Sr., recalled an elevator ride with Gatza before an earlier court hearing in May.

"We got on the elevator with you and your lawyer on the 22nd of May and you were laughing and joking all the way up to the fourth floor, like you were going to a party," he said. "This has been on my mind ever since. I will never forgot and all I can tell you today Mr. Gatza is your party is over."

Police say Gatza crossed the center line of M-20 near Currie Parkway in Midland on New Year's Day, slamming head-on into an SUV Dulaney was driving. He died on the scene.

Dulaney's wife and two of their children were badly injured.

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Investigators say Gatza was driving home from the casino when the crash happened. His blood alcohol content was 0.12 percent, which is 50 percent above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Gatza pleaded no contest to one count of operating while intoxicated causing death and three counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury.

Sentencing guidelines and scoring indicated Gatza would get at least six years in prison. Judge Stephen Carras sentenced Gatza to spend 6 to 15 years in prison.

Gatza, who was free on bond before the hearing, was handcuffed in the courtroom and taken to jail.

Dulaney was a co-owner of the Tri Cities Sports Complex. Gatza is a former Saginaw city police officer and also was a Saginaw County sheriff's deputy until 2007.