Twenty-nine-year-old Travis A. Wolfe of Bellevue was sentenced to 16-18 years in prison for the 2010 hit and run death of 24-year-old Scott Limbeck. With good behavior, he could be out in 8 years.
Before being sentenced by District Court Judge W. Russell Bowie III in a courtroom packed with family and friends of both families, Wolfe offered an apology to Limbeck's parents.
"If I could take your son's place today, I would," Wolfe read from a prepared statement.
Wolfe was convicted of killing Limbeck by running him down 13 months ago while driving away from a party near 60th and Poppleton Ave.
Wolfe said he understood what he did and accepted responsibility.
"I hope you would find it in your hearts to forgive me," Wolfe said.
Eric Limbeck, Scott's older brother, told the court Wolfe "killed my brother...and for what?" Witnesses had said an intoxicated Wolfe showed up uninvited at the party with friends and tried to pick a fight with anyone who would give it a go.
Wolfe left the party, got into his truck and hit a car owned by Limbeck. When Limbeck ran into the street, Wolfe ran him down then fled the scene.
911: "What's your emergency?"
Caller: "I'm at 60th and Poppleton and a guy just got ran over by a car. Somebody just tried running him over. I can't get him to talk to me. Scottie!"
911 Operator: "Is he pinned under the car or anything like that?"
Caller: "No. He's not. They drove off. It's a hit-and-run."
Wolfe turned himself in to police three days later.
Wolfe never looked at Eric Limbeck during nearly five minutes of commentary about Scott Limbeck's life inside the courtroom and what happened that night in January.
Eric Limbeck finished his statement by asking Judge Bowie to give Wolfe the maximum sentence of 20 years.
Bowie settled on 16-18 years.
As Wolfe was being escorted to jail by sheriff's deputies, Limbeck's sister, Carrie Copenharve, read a statement outside the courtroom.
"No sentence would have made what happened on the night of January 31st okay," she said. "Nothing will ever bring Scott back to us and no one can ever replace the roles that he played in so many people's lives. Travis will never truly pay for the crimes that he committed."
Copenharve was disgusted that Wolfe escaped additional punishment or possible DUI charges by driving off. Instead, Wolfe left her brother to die in the street. Wolfe earlier pled guilty to charges of manslaughter.
"Travis faced the possibility of a longer sentence when Scott was in a coma than when Scott passed away," she said. "This slap in the face has been extremely tough on all these people who love Scott."
Limbeck's older brother, Eric Limbeck, was not impressed by Wolfe's courtroom comments.
"There's been so many things in this trial, hiding for a couple of days, hitting my brother twice, admitting that he hit my brother's car on purpose, but not my brother," he said. "There's so many things that really are a judge of character...him flipping off a police officer is his main face book profile. I think that just speaks enough there."
"This isn't an isolated incident for Travis," Limbeck said, noting in court that Wolfe had been involved in more than 20 other incidents involving his behavior, including two additional cases of harming people with a vehicle.
"I think that after he hurt three people I think the judge wasn't going to give him a chance to hurt a fourth," Limbeck said.
After the sentence was read, hugs and tears between family, friends and supporters did little to bring closure to a 13-month long nightmare.
"I just hope that Travis finds peace and I hope that he finds compassion," Eric Limbeck said. "He will be among us again, he will be free on the streets and I hope that he finds compassion in his heart and tries to better himself and really looks at Scotty as a model for how to live life."
Carrie Copenharve plans to address the Judicial Committee of the Nebraska Legislature 'Wednesday asking for stronger penalties in hit and run cases.
According to the Nebraska Department of Roads, Eighteen people were killed in hit and run crashes statewide last year alone.
Twenty-two people died in Nebraska in hit and run cases the previous 10 years combined.