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‘I’m so sorry:’ Levi Ruohonen sentenced to 20 years in prison for crash that killed man, his daughter

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RACINE COUNTY -- The man who was driving drunk when he hit and killed a father and daughter on the day after Thanksgiving 2016 learned his sentence on Monday, March 5.

Levi Ruohonen

It was hard to grasp the words through the sobs as Levi Ruohonen , 27, told the family of the two people he killed that he wishes he could trade places with them.

"I just want to start off saying I'm so sorry," Ruohonen said. "I'd give anything and everything to take back what happened."

This all stems from Thanksgiving weekend 2016. Ruohonen, with a blood alcohol content of .265, slammed his truck into the back of a sedan in Caledonia. The responding officer said the truck's front end appeared to be smashed into the back seat of the sedan. The car's driver, Kevin Dalley and his daughter Emily, 9, were killed. A second daughter, 6, was hurt.

Fatal crash scene in Caledonia

"The court does not have the ability to make right. Making it right would bring these two people back," said Judge Emily Mueller.

Levi Ruohonen

Ruohonen had pleaded no contest to two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, second offense.

"I promise from the bottom of my heart that I will never let anything like this happen again," Ruohonen said.

"Send a message to the entire community that you just can't take these kinds of risks with other people's lives," said Patricia Hanson, prosecutor.

Ruohonen's character played into the sentencing. The judge noted his focus on restitution while out on bail.

Levi Ruohonen

"He liquidated all of his assets and worked every single day to save and contribute money toward what is anticipated to be an eventual civil settlement in his case," said Craig Mastantuono, Ruohonen's attorney.

Ruohonen could have gotten as much as 40 years in prison for each of the two counts, but the judge sentenced him to 30 years -- 20 of which will be confinement and 10 of extended supervision -- for each count. They will run concurrently.

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