The man responsible for the Apr. 4 DUI crash that killed filmmaker Bob Clark and his 22-year-old son was sentenced Friday to six years in prison after pleading no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Hector Manuel Velazquez-Nava was motoring north on California's famed Pacific Coast Highway when he admittedly lost control of his 2007 GMC Yukon and slammed into Clark's 1997 Infiniti Q30 sedan, which was in a southbound lane.
Clark, who directed the perennial yuletide favorite A Christmas Story, and son Ariel Hanrath-Clark were pronounced dead at the scene.
Velazquez-Nava, a native of Mexico who authorities said has been living in Los Angeles illegally, was found to have had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 percent at the time of the crash, three times the state's legal limit.
The defendant, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, begged the Clark family's forgiveness before he was sentenced.
"I want to ask for forgiveness to the families of the persons who died in this accident," Velazquez-Nava said through a Spanish interpreter. "I feel very sad about what happened. It was never my intention to harm anyone. It was simply an accident."
He accepted the plea deal in August. When the hearing began today, L.A. Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader was reluctant to sign off on the terms of the deal and transferred the case back to Judge Hector Guzman, the one who okayed the plea agreement this summer.
Before handing down the sentence, Guzman said that Velazquez-Nava, 25, had ignored "constant" public warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving before getting into his car that night.
"Mr. Velazquez-Nava had been drinking to the point his blood-alcohol level was 0.24, so it's not simply an accident," the jurist said.
Clark, who made A Christmas Story in 1983, also wrote, produced and directed the cult-classic American Pie predecessors Porky's and Porky's 2: The Next Day.