MILFORD, Conn. -- Fired city police Officer Jason R. Anderson was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to 10 years in prison, suspended after five years served, for the deaths of two Orange teens.
Within the hour, Anderson had posted $50,000 surety bond set by Judge Denise Markle and was out on appeal.
Anderson's attorney, Hugh F. Keefe of New Haven, said the case before a three-judge panel in Hartford would probably take a year or more.
Anderson, 37, stood trial in November on two counts of second-degree manslaughter, but was found guilty of a lesser charge, misconduct with a motor vehicle. He also was convicted of reckless driving.
Anderson was traveling 94 mph at 2:15 a.m. June 13, 2009, on Boston Post Road in Orange when his cruiser hit a car driven by David Servin. Servin and passenger Ashlie Krakowski, both 19, were killed.
Anderson was not answering an emergency call at the time.
Servin's blood-alcohol concentration was seven times over the legal limit as he tried to turn left from the Post Road onto Dogwood Road.
Courtroom D was packed Wednesday with family and friends, including a half-dozen city police officers.
The hearing, which Keefe had expected to run up to two hours, took all day. The prosecution presented 12 people who spoke of the impact of the teens' deaths and five who spoke to Anderson's character.
At sentencing, Markle noted Anderson is a devoted father and volunteer, but committed one reckless, criminal act.
The five years was one more than State's Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor had sought, but was "within range," he said afterward.
Anderson also must serve three years of probation, during which he must pay $2,000 annually to scholarship funds in the teens' names and provide driver training at the state police academy.
As Markle passed sentence, Ashlie's grandmother, Lois Krakowski of Orange, nodded her head and smiled slightly.
The day was filled with tear-choked testimony. Anderson, at the defendant's table, turned and faced each person who spoke at the nearby lectern.
Servin's mother, Susan, said losing her son means "the constant presence of an absence."
"It's time to send this convicted felon to jail," Servin said of Anderson.
Krakowski's father, Kenny, read from a paper she wrote, in which she said she is an EMT and expects to retire to Florida "after achieving greatness."
Krakowski showed Markle a New York Rangers shirt signed by all the players.
Krakowski said Anderson was "bullied" into an ambulance first on the night of the accident, while his daughter "was still alive."
He asked Markle to sentence Anderson to 101/2 years in prison.
Their lives will never be the same, Ashlie Krakowski's grandmother, Lois Krakowski of Orange, said.
"I'm an old lady," she said. "She was absolutely beautiful."
Relatives and friends recalled family gatherings, one saying that Servin was a "good kid," student, musician and sportsman.
Many spoke of lost opportunities for careers, children and grandchildren.
'I'M HIS MOM'
When it was her turn at the lectern, Anderson's mother, Geraldine, told the court, "I am Jason Anderson's mom."
She told Markle that Jason is the youngest of five children, the one with "the million-dollar smile."
Geraldine Anderson recounted her son's many acts of kindness and said he is "not a criminal." He is a "good person" who belongs at home with his family.
"I am proud to be your mother. I will love and support you until the day I die," she told him. She hugged Anderson at the defense table and then sat down.
Anderson's wife, Maria, recounted her husband's sleepless nights in the wake of the accident.
Keefe said Anderson's mental health has suffered. He has an acute stress disorder as a result of the accident, and a high level of anxiety about driving.
"His flashbacks continue," Keefe said.
Keefe cited Anderson's record of volunteering, including at Ground Zero and the Special Olympics, and exemplary record on the city and Darien police departments.
Keefe said 91 character letters were submitted to the judge in support of Anderson.
A former colleague, city police Sgt. Douglas Youd, told the judge that Anderson is a good family man, an honorable man and a very good friend.
Finally, police Detective Sgt. Richard Anderson stepped up to the lectern. He paused to compose himself as he spoke of his brother, who "will never be the same."
"You are not taking a violent man off the street," Richard Anderson said.
He called the accident an "absolute tragedy."
Richard Anderson turned to the Krakowski and Servin families and extended his "deepest condolences," saying if given the chance, he would certainly go back and change what happened.
In arguing for the sentence, Lawlor asked: Why do good people do bad things?
He said everyone needs to be punished appropriately. "These two kids were wiped off the map in the blink of an eye," Lawlor said. "Anderson protected no one, he served no one."
Anderson's actions were "blatant disregard" of the law, and he endangered everyone on the Post Road. Anderson's police cruiser that night became a "cruise missile," Lawlor said.
After the proceedings, Keefe said he hopes to get the appellate court "to do what the trial court did not do," and rule that one of the teens was an intervening cause of the crash.
An "intervening cause" is unforeseeable, but sufficiently powerful, and relieves Anderson of all criminal responsibility, Keefe has argued.
Keefe began the morning by presenting a motion to acquit, which was denied by Markle.
Keefe also raised objections to some letters in the state's pre-sentencing report that he labeled as "anti-police editorializing" and painted cops as "irresponsible cowboys."
The Servin family received a $2.5 million settlement from the city, while Milford paid the Krakowski estate $3.5 million. The Krakowski estate also received $500,000 from the Servin estate.
Copyright 2013 - New Haven Register, Conn.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service