Published: August 9, 2014
A woman convicted in June of two counts of vehicular homicide in which a mother and her 3-year-old son were killed was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.
Arica Vlach, 31, of Peyton sobbed when addressing the court moments before 4th Judicial District Judge Timothy Schutz read the sentences.
Vlach said she is "truly, truly sorry" and that she hopes one day the victims' family will forgive her.
"If I could go back in time and change one single moment in my life, it would be to delete this tragedy," she said.
Nicole Enderle, 42, and her son, Alexander, were killed in a crash July 12, 2013, when an extremely drunk Vlach ran a stop sign at Judge Orr Road in eastern El Paso County. She was given consecutive sentences of 12 and 16 years for the deaths of Enderle and her son.
A third consecutive sentence of two years was related to an assault conviction associated with injuries that then 2-year-old Zoe Enderle suffered in the wreck.
Testimony at Friday's hearing began with Nicole Enderle's husband and the father of the two children, Jason Enderle, pleading for the maximum sentence for Vlach.
"We can now dispense with the legal niceties and refer to her in a more appropriate manner," Jason Enderle said, calling Vlach a "convicted killer."
Nicole's mother and Jason's parents followed the opening remarks with tearful pleas. Glenda Enderle said she and her friends and relatives have been given a "life sentence" with the loss and constant reminders of Nicole Enderle and Glenda's grandson.
"We were not given a fair trial," she said.
The testimony by each of Alexander Enderle's grandparents brought emotional responses from almost everyone in the packed courtroom, including Vlach. The defendant bowed her head and began to cry and wipe tears from her yes, eventually reaching with her shackled hands to grab tissue from a box on the table in front of her.
A hint of emotion also grabbed Schutz, who paused periodically throughout the hearing.
The judge handed out the sentence after Vlach's mother and father had their chance to tell the courtroom about their daughter's "giving heart."
While Valerie Sievers said her daughter has been "deeply saddened every day," she acknowledged Vlach's responsibility, saying "our daughter must be accountable for her actions."
Schutz echoed Sievers' statement just before the sentence was read. He said the crash was not an accident, explaining that Vlach was extremely drunk at 9 a.m. and that the deaths were "avoidable."
Instead of giving Vlach the maximum penalty, which would have amounted to 62 years in prison, the judge reduced the sentence because Vlach had no criminal record, "not even a misdemeanor charge."
The Enderle family will have 91 days from the sentencing to seek restitution for the deaths and the pain it may have caused them, Schutz said.