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Perez sentenced to 5 years in prison for fatal hit-and-run

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MILWAUKEE -- Luis Perez, who pleaded guilty to a deadly hit-and-run, was sentenced to 5 years in prison Wednesday, despite a mother's plea for the maximum sentence.

“My baby was slowly dying and I couldn't do nothing to save him,” said mother Laura Manriquez.

Holding back tears, Manriquez told the judge her account of the day her 25-year-old son, Gilbert Vazquez, was hit by a car as he was crossing the street near 16th and Mitchell on Milwaukee's south side.

“The person who hit my son, my baby Gilbert, never stayed to render help,” said Manriquez.

The driver responsible, 32-year-old Perez, left the scene after the crash last May.  According to prosecutors, he destroyed the car after he learned Vazquez had died.  Perez eventually turned himself in and pleaded guilty to hit-and-run involving death.

“I wanted to stop, but I didn't,” said Perez.

At his sentencing, Perez told the judge he drove off because he was scared and apologized to the victim's family.

“I wish I could bring him back.  He didn't deserve to die like that.  I was trying to go back home.  It was an accident,” said Perez.

“I say your action is you should have never been in the street in the first place because you didn't have a valid license,” said Milwaukee County Judge Jeffrey Wagner.

Perez faced a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, but because of his guilty plea, the judge ordered he serve a 5 year prison term with 4 years of extended supervision instead.

“You can never rejoice over another person's sadness.  My hopes are this young man can correct his behavior so when he comes out, he'll be an asset to the community like my son was and not a burden,” said Manriquez.