Man gets max penalty for fatal drunk driving crash

Posted at: 04/25/2013 4:33 PM
Updated at: 04/25/2013 5:21 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Branden Clark was given the maximum sentence for killing a woman while driving drunk last year.

It was an intense morning at the sentencing of 29-year-old Clark; he was face to face with the family of the woman he killed.

"This is all I have left of my sister, ashes and pictures, and a tombstone to go too,” said Stephanie Hall, the sister of the woman who was killed.

On June 16, 2012 Clark was driving drunk, His blood alcohol concentration was nearly four times the legal limit to drive. He hit 36-year-old Debra Valencia's car in northeast Albuquerque and pushed her into oncoming traffic - she was killed.

Clark expressed condolences to the Valencia family.

“I ask for your forgiveness this has been an awful nightmare for me and I will be living with this for the rest of my life,” he said.

After listening to the emotional testimony, the judge gave Clark the maximum sentence of six years behind bars.

Valencia's family said they're glad Clark got the maximum penalty, but said that' won't bring back their loved one.

“It's never going to be enough to any family, not just our family, we lost somebody precious,” said Kathy Atkins, Valencia's mother.

“There is nothing that can bring my sister back," said Hall. "There is no amount of time served will do nothing to help us in dealing with this horrible tragedy.”

Clark will be given credit for the amount of time he has already served. After he gets out, Clark will serve two years of supervised probation. The judge also ordered him to serve 160 hours of community service geared toward drunk driving prevention.