Figueroa sentenced to six years for leaving fatal accident scene

2013-02-20T16:30:00Z 2013-02-21T11:53:03Z Figueroa sentenced to six years for leaving fatal accident sceneJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | With little emotion, Reinaldo Figueroa III turned to the family of Frank Ivey on Wednesday afternoon and apologized.

"I'm truly sorry for all the pain and suffering I caused. If I could take back that entire night, I would. I would like to help you anyway I could," the 22-year-old Portage man said before being sentenced by Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper.

Figueroa pleaded guilty in November to leaving the scene of an April 2 accident that resulted in the death of Ivey, 22, of South Haven, who was riding his mo-ped on County Road 700 N.

Thomas Ivey II, Frank Ivey's brother, read an impact statement to Harper on behalf of his family. They asked not only for the maximum eight-year sentence on the count to which Figueroa pleaded guilty, but also asked to reinstate a second count of reckless homicide, which also carries an eight-year sentence.

Thomas Ivey asked Harper to show "no leniency, no mercy" because Figueroa showed none to his brother after striking him with his car and leaving him in the road only to be struck by another vehicle.

"If the defendant cared, he would have stopped," said Thomas Ivey, calling his brother a "great role model who always figured out a way to deal with obstacles in his life."

Harper sentenced Figueroa to six years in prison, suspending three years of the term. With good behavior, he could serve 18 months. He also received three years of formal probation and will have a suspended driver's license for four years once he is released. He also was ordered to pay $11,052 in restitution to a local funeral home for Ivey's funeral, burial and headstone.

"There is nothing this court can do to make it right. I grieve for your loss," Harper told the Ivey family gathered in the courtroom. She added that was a tragic situation for both families in the case.

Harper cited Figueroa's previous arrests, probation violations and violation of his pretrial supervision for the sentence.

"It appears that it is a very clear indication that he has significant character issues," said Harper, adding Figueroa is not a suitable candidate for community corrections.

Figueroa will not serve his sentence in the Westville Correctional Center, as requested by his attorney Jeff Golding. Ivey's father, Thomas Ivey Sr., is presently serving time at that facility after a 2010 sentencing, by Harper, for beating a man.

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