LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Damien Mracek, who pleaded guilty to a fatal hit and run, is headed to prison for 10 years, followed by 10 years of probation, for the death of 75-year-old Darel Skolos earlier this year.
According to the criminal complaint, in May, the 31-year-old Mracek was driving a car that crossed the center line of County Road B in Bangor and struck Skolos vehicle. Skolos died two weeks later from his injuries. Meanwhile Mracek fled the scene and turned himself in a few weeks after the accident.
"In the hospital someone introduced me as his sister and he said she's not just my sister, she's my friend too," said Dana Fladhammer, the victim's only sibling. "Our family and Darel's many friends are devastated that he was in such a senseless accident made even worse when the person to blame ran from the scene instead of staying to help Darel or even calling 911. This is difficult to imagine because most people would not be that irresponsible with someone else's life."
The prosecution contends Mracek, who has 21 prior convictions, smoked methamphetamine the day of the crash and fled the scene to avoid detection because he was on probation at the time.
"On the day of the crash, he didn't show human decency," said Edward Minser, the prosecutor. "All he was worried about that day was getting away."
Mracek denies he used drugs before the accident but admits fault and apologized to the Skolos family in court Monday.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about it," Mracek said.
Mracek's father and three of his siblings spoke on his behalf and asked the judge for leniency.
Judge Levine acknowledged Mracek did ultimately turn himself in and appeared remorseful, but the severity of this offense and his lengthy criminal past cannot be ignored.
"As much as I would love to believe you were in recovery everything that's been said makes me think that you were in all likelihood using," Judge Levine said. "Of course we don't know that because you didn't stick around for us to test that blood. You took a life and you took off. So for the protection of the community you need to go to prison."
Mracek will now spend a decade in prison for taking the life of a man described as 75 years young.
"He was in good health, did not smoke or drink, took vitamins, ate right, took care of himself," Fladhammer said. "Our mother lived in to her 100s, aunts and uncles in to their 90s so his life was truly cut short."
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