Carol Stream man gets 6 years for deadly Itasca crash
Jeffery Fisher may be a good man and caring father, but DuPage County Judge John Kinsella ruled he did a "very horrible thing" in the early morning hours of July 3.
Fisher, 40, of Carol Stream, was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for the early morning crash that killed his 30-year-old girlfriend Eva Meyers.
Fisher was southbound when his pickup truck crashed through a railroad gate and collided with a passing freight train at Rohlwing and Irving Park roads in Itasca. He later registered a 0.15 blood-alcohol level, almost double the legal threshold, prosecutors said.
Police responded just before 3 a.m. to find Fisher's truck near the railroad crossing with major damage to the passenger side.
Prosecutors said Fisher smelled of alcohol and admitted he had been drinking. Meyers, who was unconscious but breathing, was airlifted to a Park Ridge hospital where she died of her injuries, including head trauma.
Fisher pleaded guilty earlier this year to aggravated DUI in exchange for prosecutors seeking a maximum 10-year sentence.
Prior to handing down his sentence, Kinsella heard heart-wrenching statements from Meyers' mother, Melody Holt-Respass, and 14-year-old daughter, Yazmiene, who described the loss they've felt since Eva's death. Both wept openly.
"A (child) who loses a parent is an orphan. There is no word to describe a parent who loses a child," Holt-Respass said, "because the loss is like no other."
Yazmiene said she and her mother struggled to get along at times but now she'll never be able to repair the relationship or "make it perfect." Yazmiene said she has promised to make her mother proud.
Kinsella also heard from Fisher's wife Nikki, two teenage children and his father. Each of them told Kinsella how Fisher was a "family man," an "excellent father" and an "excellent husband."
"They're teenagers. They need their dad. Kids need their father," Nikki Fisher said. "Jeff is a good man. He made a bad decision that night."
His daughter, Hannah, left the witness stand to give her handcuffed father a tearful hug and said "I love you dad."
Fisher sought mercy and asked for probation, while also admitting to making a bad decision and promised to spend his life sober and honoring Eva by helping to prevent others from drinking and driving.
"I apologize for being and becoming part of the problem," he said. "I've made a terrible mistake, but I'm not a criminal. This was a tragic accident."
Fisher was sentenced to six years in prison, but he will only serve about five years since he has been incarcerated in DuPage County jail for more than nine months since the crash.