Meyer sentenced to 10 years in prison for crash that killed mother and daughter

Published: Sep. 11, 2018 at 10:05 AM CDT
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A man convicted of killing a mother and daughter in a drunk driving crash has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

David Meyer, found guilty of two homicide charges in the deaths of

, told a packed courtroom Tuesday that he finds it difficult to live with himself.

"There's no words that I can say to give them any peace. I find it difficult to live with myself, for what's happened," Meyer said. "I can promise that I will live every day for the rest of my life trying to make amends for this."

Judge William Atkinson sentenced Meyer to 10 years in prison for each count. The sentences are concurrent, which means he'll serve them at the same time.

Judge William Atkinson broke down in tears, frustrated by the number of tragic cases he's heard related to drunk driving.

"I will not spend one dime supporting the alcohol industry. I am so tired of a society, and more prevalent here in the state of Wisconsin, of being brainwashed, into believing that you need alcohol to enjoy life," Judge Atkinson told the court.

Prosecutors said Meyer was drunk when he hit Rebecca Pennenberg, 44, and her daughter, Raelia, 18, as they were walking on French Road in the town of Lawrence. The crash happened in August 2017.

The Pennenberg women were pronounced dead at the scene.

"I am haunted by the fact that they were coming home to see me," reads a statement from Mike Pennenberg, the husband and father.

"I am scared, stressed, overwhelmed, and most of all, heart-broken. No one has ever loved me as much and as completely as Becky and Raelia did."

As officers tended to the Pennenberg women, they saw Meyer standing a few feet away from the crash scene. He "appeared very distraught and kept saying he was sorry," according to the criminal complaint.

Meyer told police that he didn't see the women before it was too late. The women were walking on the west side of the center line. Meyer said he crossed the center line and hit them.

Police said Meyer told them he had two beers, but he blew a 0.219 on a Breathalyzer. That's more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit to drive in Wisconsin.

Meyer was found guilty of two counts of Homicide by Use of Vehicle with PAC after pleading "no contest" in an agreement with prosecutors. Two counts of Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle were dismissed but read into the record.

Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Meyer to 22 years in prison. The defense asked for less time behind bars and more probation, saying, "There is no punishment enough that will punish him the way he will punish himself."

Meyer's father asked the court to have mercy on his son. Meyer's friend testified that Meyer is a "hard worker" and a "kind-hearted soul."

In addition to the prison sentence, Meyer will serve 10 years on extended supervision following his release.