DENVER (CBS4)– Nearly a year after her daughter was struck and killed while crossing the intersection of 13th and Broadway, Karina Pulec’s mother says she’s finally gotten some closure, but maybe not comfort, after the man who took her daughter’s life was sentenced to prison.
“I see the loss of someone who could have and would have made a huge difference in this world,” said Michele Pulec.
Norlan Estrada Reyes was behind the wheel when he struck Karina Pulec at 13th and Broadway in October 2016. She was walking with her boyfriend. He was also injured.
“Probably the worst news you could ever hear,” said Michele Pulec.
Estrada Reyes was identified as the driver after he crashed and then abandoned his white pickup truck just a few miles from the scene. It took four days before he turned himself in to police.
“That man’s choice that night to drive in the state he was in, took a life that not only effected us as a family but our friends, her friends,” said Michele Pulec.
Estrada Reyes, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, had been deported before, and was wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“He had a problem in 2013, he had a problem in 2014 and you know, I wish… I wish he would’ve been caught,” said Michele Pulec.
If he had been deported by ICE after the crash, there would have been no plea or sentencing.
“He didn’t get reported to ICE, he would’ve been deported at that point in time… and would that have saved our daughter? We don’t know, you don’t know,” said Michele Pulec.
She admits she doesn’t have those answers but hopes Karina’s death will mean something, “All we have to strive for is to do the right thing. It’s not always easy, but that’s what we need to do.”
Estrada Reyes pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident in June and was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Friday, the maximum sentence that a judge could order.
In her letter to the court on Friday, Michele said she’s not ready to forgive and asked for justice for her daughter, “To me, 12 years is far too short for someone who has taken a life.”