Rubenzer to Serve 18 Months in Prison

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It was an emotional scene before a packed Chippewa County courthouse as the families of Kelly Hartman, Adam Ludwigson as well as Ryan Rubenzer awaited sentencing for the May 5th crash.

During the bulk of today's hearing Rubenzer sat silent and slumped over at the defense table as one by one family members told how they learned of the fatal crash and what punishment they thought was appropriate.

John Ludwigson, Adam's father, spoke of how he remembered hearing the sirens blaring the night of the crash and how later he held his daughter who collapsed with grief on the hospital floor.

At one point Ludwigson even went as far as addressing Rubenzer directly saying he didn't hate him but hated what happened.

Throughout the three hour hearing people visibly wept and muffled cries filled the courtroom, including some from Rubenzer who broke down while listening to a family member tell of how the defendant would forever have to live with the grief he caused.

During his statement Rubenzer told the judge he was sorry from the bottom of his heart and said since the crash he's been consumed with feelings of emptiness, loneliness and terror.

After the sentencing relatives of victim Kelly Hartman had this to say.

"I feel like a weight has been started to lift off our shoulders," says Cindy Nelson, aunt of Kelly Hartman, "It was hard to come down today knowing that the sentences would begin the healing process and I really feel that I'm ok with it."

"If Ryan's plan is really to make a difference and to change his life this allows him to do so," says Cathy Schindler another one of Hartman's aunts.

Chippewa County District attorney Jon Thiesen says he feels the judge did his job today and both Thiesen and Judge Sazma say despite Rubenzer's long history of alcohol related violations, they feel he has an "excellent" chance of rehabilitation.