Family Accepts Sentence, but Not Words from Drunk Driver

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- A drunk driver who killed a Gladstone man last year, now knows his fate. Dustin Brockman will spend seven years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after he drove drunk and killed Bruce Bechthold.

On Wednesday, the victim's family said they accept the punishment, but their lives have been changed forever. Family and friends of Bechthold gathered outside the Clay County Courthouse wearing green, Bechthold's favorite color.

"He was a friend to everybody," said Bechthold's wife, Diana. "I don't think he knew a stranger, and I just can't say enough good things about Bruce. There's just not enough words."

The 51-year-old husband and father of four was killed last May near the 152 and 169 highway interchange by Brockman who fled the scene.  Police tracked him down later.

"It's been very hard to realize that Bruce is not coming home again," said Diana Bechthold.

Brockman said in court the incident was "not a reflection of his character" and "respects the judge's sentencing." The judge handed down seven years to the 25-year-old. He must serve at least 85 percent of that.

Bechthold's family accepts the sentence, but his daughter said not the words that came out of Brockman's mouth.

"Unfortunately, I feel like it was a reflection on him because knowing the type of person my dad was, he would've never left anybody on the side of the road to die," said Chloe Bechthold, the victim's daughter.

Their only message for other drivers out on the roads is that they hope they'll learn from this.

"Our family was greatly, greatly affected by this, and it's not just going to be for today, it's going to be for a lifetime," said Diana.

The Bechthold's asked for the maximum 15 years for Brockman. But the judge says she based some of her decision on the fact that Brockman doesn't have a prior record.

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