A Santa Fe man was sentenced Friday to 60 days in jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty to vehicular assault and driving under the influence.
Brian Strittmatter was drunk when he hit Mark “Downtown Steve” Brown’s truck head-on in March. The crash left both of them in the hospital with severe injuries.
Judge William Herringer also sentenced Strittmatter to four years of probation for a DUI. The probation sentences will be served concurrently. He also will owe at least an estimated $36,000 of restitution. But the prosecution was granted 90 days to amend that number if necessary.
Brown addressed the judge during the sentencing and outlined the suffering he endured after the accident, which included hospitalization and months of rehab.
Strittmatter’s Subaru crossed the center line March 12 on Florida Road near Chapman Hill and struck Brown’s truck. The force of the collision pushed the steering column into Brown’s body, he said.
He was left with severe injuries to his internal organs, a concussion, nerve damage, broken ribs, a broken kneecap and many other injuries. The crash also left him with a blood clot in his neck that could at any time go to his brain and kill him, he said.
“The thought of my blood clot breaking loose is with me every day,” he said.
The accident also resulted in severe financial consequences for Brown, who said he is now more than $400,000 in debt from his medical costs because Strittmatter did not have insurance.
Brown told Herringer that while a part of him would like see Strittmatter go to jail, another side of him did not want to see another life wasted.
“This whole thing has made me sad for both of us,” Brown said.
He did ask Strittmatter to seek help for his drinking problem because the situation could have been easily avoided.
Strittmatter also addressed the court and was in tears as he apologized for his actions.
“I know my words don’t make up for what he’s had to go through,” he said.
In administering his sentence, Herringer said Strittmatter’s remorseful attitude and Brown’s compassion had made a difference in his decision.
“I think you have the ability to overcome this and rebuild your life,” he said.
However, Herringer said if Strittmatter tested positive for alcohol or drugs once during his probation, he would have to appear in court and face the consequences.