GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– A man who was behind the wheel when he struck and killed a teenager who was jogging in Lakewood last summer was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Derrick Fransua faced up to 24 years in prison for his role in the crash. He pleaded guilty to the hit and run in February.
Fransua, 22, was street racing near Kipling and Asbury in Lakewood in July 2013 when he went through a red light and struck Gerry Julien.
Julien was home for the summer from an elite military boarding school. He wanted to be an Air Force pilot. Hours before he was killed he was volunteering at a homeless shelter.
“I’ll always have the memories of my cousin but nothing will bring him back,” said Julien’s cousin.
Witnesses said it appeared Fransua was involved in a speeding contest when he struck Julian and drove off.
Fransua left the scene and told his parents he struck a deer. His hands were covered in blood from injuries he suffered after he tore out his own windshield.
Fransua’s father called 911, “The car has damage and I kind of doubt that it was a deer.”
In court he described his reaction.
“After realizing that I hit someone I froze up. Still driving and shocked and what just happened, I panicked and was scared… not knowing what to do,” said Fransua.
The judge called it one of the most egregious cases he had ever seen.
“I know I have taken away someone who was young and trying to accomplish great things with his life,” said Fransua.
Fransua’s family asked the judge for leniency. The 13-year prison sentence is what prosecutors wanted.
Fransua was convicted on a class 3 felony for leaving the scene of an accident. Although he was immediately taken to prison, he could be released in five years.