Ohio man gets 29.5 years in drunk-driving death

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A central Ohio man with seven drunken-driving convictions has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for causing a crash that killed a woman in November.


The Columbus Dispatch reports that Judge John Bender in Delaware County Common Pleas Court sentenced 45-year-old Marc Kraft Friday to the maximum 29½ years in prison. Kraft, of Blendon Township, had been found guilty Wednesday of eight counts related to the crash, including vehicular homicide.


Bender handed down that sentence after listening to 36-year-old Heidi Hecker’s family speak emotionally about the impact of her death.


Police say Kraft’s blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit Nov. 8 when he slammed his pickup truck into the back of a Subaru stopped an at intersection in Delaware, near Columbus. Witnesses estimated he was driving between 80 and 100 mph.


Hecker was killed, and her 10-month-old daughter and boyfriend were injured.


Kraft had not had a valid license since 1992 and has six previous drunken-driving convictions in Pennsylvania.


“He doesn’t care and isn’t remorseful,” Carmen Hecker, Heidi’s sister, told the judge Friday. “Or else he wouldn’t continue to do it.”


Hecker told Bender that her sister will never again get to organize a pumpkin-carving contest, decorate a Christmas tree, or have daily phone calls with her sister.


Most of all, Heidi Hecker’s now-14-month-old daughter will have to grow up without her mother.


“We just keep saying, ‘I know, baby. She’s in heaven,”’ Carmen Hecker said, referring to how the girl had started babbling the word, “Mama.”


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.”


Heidi’s death is the second time the Hecker family lost a loved one to a drunken driver.


Heidi’s mother, Shirley, was on her way to church on Christmas Eve in 2000 when her vehicle was hit 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,” he 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.”


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