FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The man responsible for causing the an fatal crash on a South Florida roadway eight years ago is asking a Broward County judge to commute his sentence.
Flavio Santisteban was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 36 years behind bars for causing the crash that killed four people on the ramp from Interstate 595 to the Turnpike on February 11, 2005. His sentence is now being retried due to a successful appeal made by Santisteban’s attorneys.
Santisteban was driving a tanker truck filled with 9,000 gallons of gasoline when he tried to merge onto the ramp and lost control. The tanker tipped over on top of a car carrying four people and exploded, killing everyone inside.
Family members of the victims were in the courtroom Wednesday. They say the sentence was just.
“She was robbed of a better life and robbed in a most agonizing way,” said Mel Halpern, husband of victim Gloria Helpern.
“God can forgive you, I can’t,” said Max Pastelnick, whose son and daughter-in-law were killed. “Whatever sentence he gets he deserves. He shouldn’t be walking out of here today.”
Santisteban’s attorney said he is sorry for what happened, and even suffered substantial burns on his hands trying to save the victims.
“This is pretty heroic, a man would risk his own life as he did and he suffered the burns he suffered,” said attorney Neal Sonnet.
Sonnet asked that his client’s sentence be reduced to 10 years.
“I am sorry, and I only hope they one day can forgive me for surviving,” said Santisteban.
Santisteban will be resentenced on July 3.