Mitchell Kraus | Editor-in-Chief
The St. Louis man who caused a 2016 crash that killed one Lindenwood student and injured three others was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.
Marcus Jackson, 25, pleaded guilty in June to first-degree involuntary manslaughter, three counts of second-degree assault and one count of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. He had been traveling in excess of 125 miles per hour on Interstate 70 when he struck the back of the car the students were in.
Marianne Olyslager-Maldonado, 23, of Honduras was ejected from the car and later died. The three other students in the car, Laura Zunig, Andrea Samayoa and Sinisia Landup also were injured.
Jackson fled the scene on foot and was later arrested when he sought treatment at a hospital.
In the courtroom Thursday, the prosecution provided written statements from Samayoa and Olyslager-Maldonado’s father to Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh. The prosecution recommended a 15-year sentence.
Jackson’s attorney Celestine Dotson, cited her client’s cooperation and his acceptance of responsibility for what happened in recommending a five-year sentence.
Fifteen friends and family of Jackson were present in the courtroom, and eight provided character statements, often while fighting back tears.
Jackson remained silent throughout the hearing until addressed by the judge.
“I pray [the victims] can forgive me; it was a bad decision and a selfish act,” Jackson said. “I didn’t mean to take anybody’s life.”
Before announcing the sentence, McGraugh said the he found the state’s recommended sentence to be “unreasonable,” and he thanked Jackson for not dragging the case through a jury trial.
Jackson was sentenced to five years each for the manslaughter and assault charges, and four years for fleeing the scene of a crash, with all sentences to be served concurrently.
After the hearing, Jackson was permitted to talk to his gathered family and friends for a few minutes before being incarcerated.