Thirty-seven-year-old Keith Terry was convicted of injuring Officer Phoukham Tran after he struck him with his vehicle while Tran was directing traffic at the state fair last august.
Thursday, Terry was sentenced for his crime.
Terry entered the Polk County courtroom still convinced what happened the night he hit Officer Tran was an accident.
“He clearly stepped out in front of one vehicle in front of me with a green light, I was not speeding, I was not doing anything reckless other than I had a few drinks, I don’t’ have any problem accepting that fact, but the fact that I’m being ran over, I do have a problem with that,” says Terry.
The judge and he handed over the maximum sentence of seven years in prison to Terry.
He was given five years for serious injury by vehicle, and two years for OWI.
“It’s important to protect the public from further criminal activity from the defendant,” says Polk County Judge Scott Rosenberg.
The judge cited Terry ‘s blood alcohol level being more than three times the legal limit at the time of the accident, and terry’s denial of responsibility for what happened as two of the reasons for receiving the maximum sentence.
“The acts of the defendant changed forever the life of Officer Tran, almost changed it to the point of ending his life,” says Judge Rosenberg.
Two of Officer Tran’s son’s attended the sentencing.
They say their Dad will be relieved Terry will be behind bars for years.
“I think he’ll be happy knowing that he’ll be going to prison, and he won’t have to worry about him hurting anybody else,” says Andy Tran.
Officer Tran was thrown 47 feet by the collision, he suffered a stroke, a punctured lung and numerous broken bones.
He spent months in the hospital, just returning home earlier this year.
His sons say their Dad is eager to continue getting stronger so he can get back to doing what he loves.
“We can kind of move on with our lives, help our Dad more, help him get better, and hopefully get back to work,” says Andy Tran.
Terry’s attorney filled a motion for a new trial, however that was denied by the judge Thursday.
The attorney says he plans to appeal the sentence in hopes of getting Terry’s time behind bars reduced.
Terry was also ordered to pay restitution, however the amount hasn’t been decided yet.