DETROIT (WJBK) - A man who drove into a crowd of people near Shinola headquarters in Detroit and killed a Vietnam veteran, will spend at least four years in prison.
Deandre Simmons was sentenced Monday for the June accident when he crashed into a crowd of people outside Shinola in Detroit. He hit three people, including John McDaniels, a Vietnam veteran.
"We continue to deal with this loss, a great loss, in our family. Each birthday and holiday reinforces the impact and the magnitude of this tragedy," his niece, Ruth McDaniels said.
Known for his friendly personality, he was killed the day before his 73rd birthday.
"Because he was a lifelong bachelor and were all nieces, he was special to each of us and he watched us grow up and have families. We had joys and setbacks but Uncle John was always there with us and helping us."
His life wasn't the only one changed: two other pedestrians were badly hurt in the crash. An attorney read the words of Linda Levasseur, who says she can no longer walk without pain, and has had to give up things she used to love, like riding bikes, and taking long walks.
"My recovery has been slow and painful. It took four months after the accident before I was able to put any weight on my feet to stand up. I fear I will be reminded of these injuries for the rest of my life."
Simmons pleaded guilty to multiple charges of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. He admitted to drinking before the crash but his BAC was .04, under the legal limit.
"I am not a threat to society nor to the community. It was a tragic accident that I had no control over. I, myself, suffer knowing that I have taken a life. I'm just asking for the forgiveness from the victims and their families," he said.
Simmons was sentenced to four to 15 years in prison in exchange for his guilty plea.