The driver responsible for a deadly crash that killed two people was sentenced Monday morning -- exactly one year after the crash.
Edward Koch, 26, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crashing into and killing 23-year-old Matt Kirchhoff and 22-year-old Emily Widger in September 2014. Koch pleaded no contest to two manslaughter charges back in July.
Investigators told WOWT 6 News Koch was speeding in his silver 2006 Mazda sedan on Highway 34 near Elmwood when he struck a black 2006 Nissan Sentra sedan from behind. Kirchhoff and Widger were pronounced dead at the scene.
Koch's blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was reported to be .192. Accident investigators determined he was traveling 89 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone. Sun glare was also reported to be a factor.
After court on Monday, Emily’s mother, Deb Widger, said, “I think it is full circle and I think the judge was very well aware when he set the sentencing date, and we appreciate that."
Matthew’s mother, Marilyn Kirchoff, said, "He has had a year to live and do what he wanted - to say his goodbyes. We didn't get to say goodbye to Matthew and Emily."
Koch did apologize claiming he suffers from severe mental illness and on the day of the crash he was self-medicating. The families say they don't find that acceptable.
Emily’s father, Dan Widger, said, “You can't blame everything on your mental condition. You have to own up to what you have done."
The families of Widger and Kirchhoff both read letters describing life without their loved ones.
Emily’s sister, Amy Widger, said, “I needed to have her voice heard through me and tell how not having her affected me and how it still affects me every single day."
The families say the young couple planned to spend the rest of their lives together. They had hoped to marry in October of this year. To make part of their wish true - their families had them buried together.