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Man gets 4 yrs. for deadly texting accident

April 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Costa Man was sentenced to four years in prison Friday in a case that involved texting while driving.Kuehl shook and cried uncontrollably as he held up a photo of the woman he killed, 32-year-old Martha Ovalle.

"There's not a day goes by that I don't think of the consequences," said Kuehl at his sentencing.

Kuehl was found guiltiy in January of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in connection with the August 28, 2008 accident. The incident happened at the intersection of Westcliff Drive and Buckingham Lane in Newport Beach.

Kuehl was in an SUV, driving west on Westcliff ,when he hit and killed Ovalle as she walked in a crosswalk. Ovalle, a nanny, was on her way to work.

The 42-year-old begged the judge not to send him back to prison. He's been in prison three times in the past for theft-related crimes.

"Everyone believes they know what they're going through. No one knows what I'm going through. I'm haunted by this every single day," said Kuehl.

"Mr. Kuehl basically hadn't looked up and wasn't paying attention at all for over five seconds," said Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez. "He had nearly the length of a football field to observe and there was no braking or slowing in any way."

During the trial Baez argued that Kuehl sent four text messages and received three text replies before the crash.

Kuehl says he was texting but only when stopped at stoplights. He says a glare on his windshield kept him from seeing Ovalle.

Kuehl's grandfather told the court Kuehl was turning his life around before the accident.

The prosecutor wanted Kuehl to serve seven years for killing a woman described by friends as hardworking and sent money home to family in Guatemala.

As part of the sentence, Kuehl's driver's license will be revoked for three years. Kuehl says he never plans to drive again.