JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Todd Grudznske was convicted by a jury of DUI and first-degree murder in June, but it wasn’t his first DUI conviction. Because of his history with drunk driving, a Jefferson County judge gave him the maximum penalty available at sentencing on Thursday: life in prison.
In September 2018, Angela Wimmer was killed in Lakewood when she was in a crash caused by Grudznske. Police said Wimmer, 25, was stopped at a red light Grudznske rear-ended her car, pushing it into oncoming traffic. Her car was hit by three other vehicles.
Investigators say the impact was so strong, Grudznske’s license plate number was stamped into Wimmer’s car.
A jury found Grudznske guilty of first-degree murder and driving under the influence.
In court on Thursday, a Jefferson County judge heard from victims who were also involved in the accident.
Salisa Martinez who was involved in the wreck said through tears, “It took a lot for me to even drive again.”
Todd’s friends and family also spoke in court and say he isn’t a total monster and is very remorseful.
“I’ve only known him to be caring and kind and helpful,” said his sister in-law Ivette Waller.
His friend Dennis Smethers said, “He has expressed his complete contempt for himself and stated how much he regrets the accident and would do anything to be able to change places with the victims.”
Before he received his sentence, Todd exercised his right of allocution and spoke to the court. He indeed expressed remorse for his actions and apologized to Angela’s family who was not present in the courtroom.
“I am so truly sorry to the family and everybody else affected,” said Grudznske.
In the end, Grudznske received life in prison without the possibility for parole. The judge said his six prior DUI convictions didn’t help to convince the judge to give Grudznske anything less.
Grudznske will spend the rest of his life in jail and he says he hopes others will hear his story and never make the same mistakes he did.
“I hope people watch this and see this and they’ll never get behind the wheel again. Call an Uber call a taxi, or better yet give up drinking,” said Grudznske.
Grudznske’s lawyer indicated he plans to appeal the first-degree murder conviction.