|12/7/2018 12:23:00 PM|
Family members address Johnsrud in Wednesday's sentencing hearing
|October 13, 2017 was a day that affected an Iowa County family in more ways than one. |
It was the day that Kevin Kaltenberg, 38 , was killed in a vehicle crash. Kelly Johnsrud, 54, hit Kaltenberg's vehicle head-on. As investigations unfolded, family members learned the fatal incident was the third OWI for Johnsrud in eight days.
Over a year later, Johnsrud answered to the consequences of her actions.
Seven of Kaltenberg's family members gave victim impact statements on Wednesday November 28 during Johnsrud's sentencing hearing.
The first family member to speak was Virginia Hammes, the mother of Kaltenberg. She told the court that Kevin was the youngest of her five children, along with a half brother 10 years younger. She said that her children have suffered emotional problems, after losing Kevin. Acknowledging that Johnsrud may "have a problem," Hammes stated that Johnsrud should not have made three choices to drive.
"That shouldn't have happened," Hammes said.
Hammes continued her statement by sharing a list of comments from Korbin, Kevins son, during the time of his funeral. The comments mentioned that Korbin was introduced to things such as hunting, and finding morel mushrooms. Korbin had mentioned also that if he tell his father one thing that it would be the best dad he ever had.
"He was a good son," Hammes said. "And I just can't excuse the choices she (Johnsrud) made that ended his life. He wasn't perfect, but he was ours and we loved him."
James Kaltenberg, Kevins father was the next person to speak.
"Kevin was the baby of my first five children," James said. "He was very precious to us."
James said that there were so many things that didn't add up about the accident.
"We are hoping that something can be done to the judicial system that people cannot possibly get back on the road in this amount of time where three incidents can take place in eight days," Jame said. "This shouldn't happen, there's no excuse for it."
He also hoped that Johnsrud's sentencing would give her time to straighten her life, and "become a useful factor in our society rather than have to carry this burden."
"It must be terrible," James concluded. "And it is for us and our family."
Julie Walter, sister of Kevin, started her statement by thanking the court for allowing her to speak. She stated that her hopes in her statement were threefold: wanting the court and Johnsrud to know who her brother was, wanting the court and Johnsrud to know the affect of Kevin's death, and for the court to set a precedence in sentencing to prevent another tragedy from happening.
She said that there were over 700 people who attended Kevin's services to pay their respects, and that she cherished the many stories shared. She knew that death is inevitable but her brother's death was preventable. She said to Johnsrud that she didn't understand her decision to get behind the wheel three times after consuming alcohol.
"Kelly you made a conscious decision to drive under the influence of alcohol eight days in a row, and the final day October 13, 2017, you killed Kevin James Kaltenberg."
Jill Kaltenberg, another sister to Kevin, was the next person to speak. She started by saying that she was speaking for Kevin, who could no longer speak for himself. She continued by saying that because of Johnsrud's actions many opportunities will be missed and that Johnsrud crossed the line in more ways than one. She didn't want Kevin's death, caused by Johnsrud, to go without facing the consequences.
"I want her to get the help that she needs to deal with her addiction," Jill said. "I want her to remember the countless lives she devastated by her actions on October 13, 2017. The day my little brother Kevin died."
The next person to speak was Marv Hammes, Kevin's stepfather. He said that Kevin was a good kid and that he loved sports. He echoed Julies comments on how many people came to his services, and many that were out of town.
"Good personality, and funny to be around," Hammes said. "And we miss him a lot."
He said the day that Kevin died was one of the worst phone calls he'd received in his life. In terms of sentencing, Hammes felt Johnsrud should received at least 20 years.
Kristen Kaltenberg, Kevin's stepmother, was the next person to speak. She said that Kevin's death left a hole in her heart that could never be filled. Watching her husband James go through the loss, and stated that a part of James died. She stated that there was no sense in Kevin's death, and asked why Johnsrud was on the road. She said that Johnsrud should've had a breathalyzer on her car, preventing her from driving over the legal limit.
"If she had, she would have never been on the road October 13, and Kevin would still be alive," Kristen said.
Nicole Statz, Kevin's niece and daughter of Julie Walters, was the final person to speak. She began by saying that Friday the 13 has always been a questionable date in society. For her, it was the day that she lost her uncle. She had gone to her brother's football game when she received the terrible news. She continued by saying that she wasn't going to start by giving statistics on drunk driving and all she knew was the accident was preventable and one woman caused a tragic event in her life.
She then said that Johnsrud made a big mistake, one that impacted many.
"How are you going to make it right, and what are you going to do afterwards," Statz asked when addressing Johnsrud. "I know that no one can bring my uncle back, but please give him the justice that he deserves."
After statements were given, proceedings continued leading up to Johnsrud's sentencing.
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