Man Sentenced After 8th Drunk Driving Offense
MADISON - A man whose eighth drunken-driving incident left a Lake Geneva family shattered is a danger to society and deserves the harshest penalty possible, said the Dane County judge who sentenced Mark L. Spangler to 30 years in prison.
Spangler, 39, pleaded no contest in May to three counts of causing great bodily harm by hit-and-run. The Madison man was also sentenced to concurrent 7 1/2-year terms after pleading no contest to three counts of causing injury by drunken driving.
"As sad a comment as it is, the only way to protect society is to prevent you from drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of an automobile," Circuit Judge Steven Ebert said during sentencing Friday.
Spangler was convicted of crashing into a minivan while driving drunk on Oct. 22, 2006. The crash left Scott Hodkiewicz, 39, with massive internal injuries and broken bones, and his wife, Mona, with spinal fractures. Their 10-year-old daughter, Alexa Hodkiewicz, was also injured.
"I don't want to see anyone else get hurt by Mark Spangler," Alexa told the judge.
The family's medical bills, which were covered by insurance, totaled nearly $1 million.
The 30-year sentence will start after Spangler finishes serving a sentence of nearly seven years that Ebert gave him in February after revoking the extended supervision for Spangler's fifth, sixth and seventh drunken-driving convictions. Ebert also gave Spangler the maximum sentences in each of those cases.
"You are unable to adequately exercise your judgment," Ebert said. "The only way I can protect society is to lock you up."
After last year's crash, Spangler reportedly fled the scene and was picked up by a man who had watched as Spangler was pulled from his vehicle. The man's girlfriend called 911 while he drove Spangler home, where police were waiting for him.
Alexa Hodkiewicz said she remembers watching Spangler flee.
"I remember seeing a guy with a bloody nose look at us and start running," she said.
Spangler said he regrets what happened.
"For the last 340-something days, not a day goes by that I don't think about what happened," he said. "What I feel for this family is beyond words."
His mother, Bonnie Spangler, told the court her son became an alcoholic because he had to deal with repeated sexual abuse by a relative when he was between the ages of 9 and 13. She said her son's grades suffered and he dropped out of school at 16, when he started drinking.
"He has had a difficult time dealing with this," she said. "He turned to alcohol."
Spangler's attorney asked that Spangler get 20 years in prison, concurrent to the prison sentence he is now serving.
"I do think that out there somewhere there should be hope for my client," assistant public defender Frederick Miller said.
Scott Hodkiewicz said he was satisfied with judge's sentence.
"If you want to sit at home and drink your problems away, go ahead," he said. "But if you get on the highway, you're putting everybody else at risk."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)