Parents of Cyclist Killed in OWI Crash: ‘His death was senseless and preventable’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The jury delivered its verdict Friday in the vehicular homicide case against Jonathan Leyva-Rodriguez.

The 32-year-old is accused hitting and killing bicyclist Wade Franck last August.

Leyva-Rodriguez is facing six charges: Homicide by vehicle, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of a personal scene accident, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and operating a motor vehicle while barred.

The jury found Leyva-Rodriguez guilty on all six charges. He faces 25 years in prison and will be sentenced on June 17 at 8:30 a.m.

Wade's parents, Greg and Jan Franck, spoke with Channel 13 after the verdict was read.

"We're grateful that the nightmare of the trial is over, and Iowans will not have to fear being killed by this repeat drunk driver for years to come. In Wade's memory, Jan and I will continue to lobby the legislature to strengthen our drunk driving laws and end the Catch and Release Program for repeat drunk drivers. This approach killed Wade. His death was senseless and needless and preventable," Greg said.

His parents also said Wade always said the best kinds of people are the ones who balance on two wheels. The Francks said that has been evident while dealing with this tragedy.

They said the biking community has really come together and showed its support for their son.

Two other bikers were also injured during the crash: Greg Strub and his girlfriend, Julie Peterson.

After the verdict was read, Strub said he's glad it’s all over.

“I felt that the prosecution did their job. They laid it out very well. It was what was needed to bring justice for this horrific accident,” he said.

Strub said he visited the ghost bike, a white bicycle placed at the crash scene in memory of Wade, before the verdict Friday and said a prayer for his friend.

Friday Trial

Leyva-Rodriguez's attorney told the jury that no one positively identified his client as the person who hit Wade Franck.

The state spent the last two days calling 23 witnesses to the stand to testify. Riders who witnessed the crash gave emotional testimony Wednesday. On Thursday, the state called its final witnesses to the stand, including Des Moines police officers, investigators and members of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. They told the jury how the crash scene was processed.

Channel 13's Stephanie Moore reports that family and attorneys walked back into the courtroom Friday about one hour after the jury was handed the case.

Related: Hundreds Honor Bicyclist’s Memory Along High Trestle Trail