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Driver: up to 45 years in bike death

WOOD TV Grand Rapids: Driver: up to 45 years in bike death

Kevin Babcock hit two bicyclists, killed one

Updated: Monday, 30 Nov 2009, 8:19 PM EST
Published : Monday, 30 Nov 2009, 11:53 AM EST

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - Kevin Lee Babcock was sentenced Monday to 20 to 45 years in prison for the drunken driving crash that killed a 19-year-old bicyclist.

Babcock admitted to police he consumed nearly 20 drinks prior to getting behind the wheel June 29. The Wyoming man hit two bicyclists near U.S. 31 and Quincy in Holland Township and fled the scene.

One of them, Curtis Jacobs, died the next day from his injuries. The second bicyclist, 19-year-old Christian Van Wyngarden also was hospitalized but recovered.

Jacobs was a college student at Grand Valley State, an artist and a young man who could fix things, his mother Lynn said. And much more.

"Curtis was so polite," she said. "The first words he said to me when I got to the hospital after the accident were, ’thank you for coming.’ There he lay; broken, full of blood and his first thought was to be polite and care about others."

His father expressed some anger toward Babcock. But mostly, Mark Jacobs said, he is sad about the tragic loss to his family.

"For myself, I feel sad," he said. "For the loss of a child who I coached in Little League baseball, coached in Science Olympiad and taught in the church cadet program. So bright, so smart, (he was) in college to learn and make something out of his life and then someone stuffed out his life. Selfish enough to enjoy 20 drinks of alcohol the night before."

Babcock previously pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, OWI causing death, driving without a license causing death, failing to stop at a collision and for being an habitual offender.

He later told the judge he had been active in Alcoholics Anonymous and thought he had control over his drinking.

But before he went to prison, Babcock had something to say to the Jacobs family.

"I know I have caused to your family great anguish and great devastation," he said. "I’m truly sorry.

"I don’t expect you to ever forgive me. I don’t deserve it. But I’m truly sorry and this is from my heart and from my soul for all the loss and pain I’ve caused you."

Babcock had a long list of driving citations before the June crash. Babcock was convicted on four drunken driving offenses dating back to 1986. His license was revoked in 1993.

"Maybe in a way, I am a little mad," Jacobs said. "Mad at the alcoholic. Mad for driving with no license. Mad for driving with no insurance. Mad at the state for not locking you up years ago. Mad for the cost of this trial, the lawyers and to pay for your room and board for the next 20 years."