Driver sentenced in Atka van crash that killed 3
A man who admitted to driving drunk during an Aleutian Islands van crash last year, killing three people and injuring several others including himself, was sentenced Friday to more than a decade behind bars.
Superior Court Judge Steve Cole handed down a term of 11 years and 30 days in prison for 30-year-old Sonny Iloilo, following his guilty plea in the deaths of Anchorage residents Ray McCullough Jr., 43; Mike Tunohun Jr., 51; and Paul Nicholas Nesbit, 57. He will also spend five years on probation following his release.
The deceased, who all worked for Atka Pride Seafoods, had been riding with other employees in a van driven by Iloilo on June 14, 2016, when it rolled over and crashed on Atka Island about 350 miles west of Unalaska. Six of the seven other people in the van, including Iloilo, were flown to Anchorage for treatment of their injuries.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay said it took Alaska State Troopers more than 12 hours to get to Atka to investigate the crash. When they reached the island Iloilo’s blood alcohol content was .026
“The state crime lab expert did an extrapolation on that. The estimated blood alcohol content of the defendant was between a .14 and a .35, depending on many different factors,” McKay explained. “At a minimum, the defendant was twice the legal limit.”
Cole said at Friday’s hearing in Anchorage that he had considered delaying Iloilo’s sentence due to a lack of participation by victims. Just one victim’s wife called in, and prosecutors said people they tracked down didn’t want to participate.
One of the victims sat in the back of the courtroom but declined to speak to the judge. McCullough’s wife called in to express her disappointment with the length of the sentence.
“My son lost his father. My son is only 15. And it was due to someone who was drinking on the job, that’s insane,” McCullough said.
Iloilo’s plea deal calls for 20 years with 11 suspended on a single manslaughter charge, five years on an assault charge with three served concurrently, and one year on a DUI count, with 30 days of that to be served consecutively with the 11 years.
Additional sentencing conditions imposed by Cole bar Iloilo from remaining in a residence where people are drinking, having alcohol on a table in a restaurant, or visiting events where alcohol is served or present without prior permission from a probation officer. Cole said the provisions offer a “tighter net” for Iloilo, so “there aren’t any ways he can step over the line.”
“This has got to deter you from drinking again,” Cole told Iloilo. “If you drink or don’t go do your alcohol counseling classes if all of this doesn’t deter you then I will send you back to jail to bring home the message even further.”