A man convicted on charges linked to a hit-and-run crash in which a man lost part of his leg nearly two years ago was sentenced to more than two years in prison Friday.
Superior Court Judge Jack Smith sentenced Luke Jerde to 27 months in prison, with five years of probation following his release. In imposing his sentence, Smith cited the role of rehabilitation "almost as a deterrent."
Jerde was the driver who struck Zachary Mohs on Sept. 20, 2012 at Arctic Boulevard’s intersection with Tudor Road, speeding off into a rainy night. Police later found the abandoned 1984 Pontiac Fiero which Jerde had been driving; prosecutors said the vehicle’s windshield wipers weren’t working well.
At the sentencing hearing Friday morning in Anchorage’s Nesbett Courthouse, Mohs -- confined to a wheelchair ever since he left the hospital -- appeared in a video to tell court officials that the crash had cost him the ability to go skateboarding.
“Because of somebody else, I can't do what I love,” Mohs said.
Both Mohs and Jerde's mothers testified at the hearing, with Mohs' mother reduced to tears at one point.
"I'm ashamed he would do such a thing and I'm so sorry -- but he's not a brute, he's just a kid," Jerde's mother told the court.
Prosecutors had asked that Smith use Jerde's sentencing to "serve as a deterrent" against any other young drivers tempted to leave the scene of a crash.
When Jerde spoke on his own behalf, his thoughts were of Mohs.
"I still pray for him almost every night," Jerde told the court.
Jerde received a split verdict in April, when jurors convicted him on charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with physical evidence, failing to render assistance, reckless driving and driving without insurance -- but acquitted him of first-degree assault.
The sentencing range for the assault charge spanned from seven to 11 years, had Jerde been convicted of it.
Channel 2’s Lacie Grosvold contributed information to this story.