La Crosse man pleads guilty in negligent homicide sentencing

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – “I don’t think David Sanders is an evil man, I don’t think he’s a bad person, and we are not here to sentence him to something like that. Good, decent people can do very bad things, and I think that’s what happened here,” La Crosse District Attorney Tim Gruenke said at David S. Sanders’ sentencing trial.

On Friday. 32-year-old David S. Sanders plead guilty to homicide by negligent use of a vehicle.

Last July Sanders struck 26-year-old Maria Gartner’s car head-on with his pick-up truck.

According to police reports, seconds before hitting Gartner, Sanders was traveling downhill at 95 mph on a county road between La Crosse and West Salem.

Gartner died at the scene.

Judge Ramona Gonzalez sentenced Sanders today to 26 months in prison and 60 months of extended supervision.
In addition, he will serve 26,000 hours of community service and pay a $26,000 fine.

Judge Gonzalez says she chose 26 so every month Sanders can think of a year of a life he took away.

But for family and friends, this sentencing doesn’t make up for their loss.

“Maria paid the price of your negligence, with her life. I can’t take your life for hers, but I can take some of your time. And no time, let’s be clear, absolutely no time, makes up for this woman’s life. Even the rest of his life in prison doesn’t make up for her life,” Judge Gonzalez said.

It was a packed court-room, with many family and friends making statements on behalf of Gartner and Sanders.

Some of the charges against Sanders were dropped because of a mistake made while officers were collecting a blood sample.

That evidence had to be thrown out.

Sanders starts serving his sentence today.