A Waukesha County woman had a surprising message for the judge who sentenced their father's killer: Thank you.
Mark Durand was hit head-on by David Mueller, 22, on Jan. 2. He was on his way to work at 7 a.m. when Mueller crossed the centerline at Racine Avenue and Swartz Drive in New Berlin.
His daughter, Brianna Durand-Hoecherl was worried the first time drunk driver would get a light sentence.
Instead, the judge gave Mueller nearly the maximum sentence, 14 years. It was one shy of the most Mueller could get for pleading guilty to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
The night of the accident, Durand-Hoecherl, woke up to a phone call.
"I answered it and it was the phone call saying my dad was in the hospital," Durand-Hoecherl said.
When Durand-Hoecherl found out Mueller was drunk she was surprised. It was two days after New Year's Eve.
"That day, after drinking for three days non-stop, he chose to get behind the wheel of a car," Durand-Hoecherl said.
Durand-Hoecherl said hearing the sentence gave her so much relief.
"I'm hoping other judges will see what Judge Ramirez did in this case and say, 'You know what, that was the right thing to do,'" said Durand-Hoecherl.
Durand-Hoecherl said this was supposed to be a big year for her parents. They were set to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary last month.