MIAMI (CBS4) -A Southwest Miami-Dade man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a January 2009 drunk driving accident that claimed the lives of all three children of Hector and Mirian Serrano.
Forty-three-year-old Gabriel Del Risco, a father of two children, bowed his head in court at the Metro Justice Building and shed tears as Circuit Court Judge Rosa Rodriguez announced the sentence.
Prosecutors had asked for a maximum 45-year sentence or 15 years for each count of DUI manslaughter. They noted that Del Risco’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit and that he had a lengthy driving record including arrests for DUI and driving the wrong way.
Prosecutor David Gilbert said Del Risco even fought with and spit at a paramedic at the accident scene on January 25th of 2009 after the accident.
Authorities say Del Risco had just left a bar before the accident on U.S. at Southwest 211th St.
They say his Chevy Trailblazer SUV slammed in to the back of the Del Risco’s minivan, killing all three children.
In court, Del Risco apologized to the Serranos, saying through a translator, “I beg them for forgiveness. I knew I was going to drink but I didn’t think that I was going to drive.”
Del Risco even pulled up his shirt, showing the scar on his chest from injuries he suffered in the accident.
Del Risco’s defense attorney Michael Catalano said he thought that Del Risco desrved some leniency since he was cooperative with investigators and had shown how sorry he was.
But Mirian Serrano testified for nearly 30 minutes about the children that she lost: four-year-old Amber, seven-year-old Esmeralda and 10-year-old Hector and how much she loved them.
“I think about them all the time,” she said outside the courtroom after the sentence was handed down.
Del Risco will face another hearing on May 11th in regard to another charge involving a battery on the paramedic who was treating him on the accident scene.
On Thursday night, CBS4′s Peter D’Oench caught up with the Serranos as they visited their childrens’ gravesites at a Naranja cemetery.
“I want everyone to remember them,” said Mirian Serrano. “I don’t want their deaths to not count for anything. They were angels.”
D’Oench also interviewed them at their Leisure City home, which is a photo-filled shrine to their children.
“Every day is so hard,” said Mirian Serrano. “I think these angels taught us to love. I say thank you to God for the blessing of having them. It was a blessing.”
“Our children were the best thing we had,” said Hector Serrano. “We will feel this pain forever.”
The Serranos had hoped that Del Risco would have received the maximum 45-year sentence.
“I believe in truth and God and justice,” said Hector Serrano. “I don’t think there was justice and the right thing here.”
Mirian Serrano did say she was glad that Del Risco would be expected to serve at least 85 per cent of his 30-year sentence, as required by law.
“Nothing they do to him will give me back my kids,” she said. “Nothing. I can only thank God that we had them for awhile.”