UPDATE: On Thursday, Steven Clark was sentenced to five years in prison and seven years probation for a crash that killed a trooper.
Part of Clark’s probation is that he cannot drive and cannot use a cell phone except one that is only programmed to call 911.
He will also be required to serve 100 hours of community service.
WEWOKA, Okla. – Steven Clark admitted that he had been updating his Facebook page moments before the crash that killed Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Nicholas Dees.
Trooper Nicholas Dees was killed in a crash earlier this year while responding to an overturned semi-truck along I-40.
In August, Clark pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the case.
At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Clark was emotional and regretful, apologizing directly to Dees’ family.
“I’m very sorry,” he told a KFOR photographer.
An accident investigator testified that Clark sent and received nearly 200 texts and cell phone data transfers in the two hours leading up to the accident.
“Texting and updating social media was more important and because of those actions, my one and only child was killed. And a husband and daddy was also taken away,” Shelley Russell, Dees’ mother, said.
Family members also reflected on the life of Nicholas Dees as a devoted husband, father of two and law enforcer who always carried a Bible in his cruiser.
Russeel told us, “I was blessed to have Nicholas in my life for 30 years and 8 days. He always had a smile on his face,” Russell told us.
“I had to try to explaining to a crying 2-year-old why she can’t see her dad again and watch her sit and hold his picture in her hands and ask why we can’t go get him. I watched an 8-year-old cry because she doesn’t have a daddy to take to the daddy-daughter dance,” Brandi Dees, Nicholas’ wife, said.
Family members are asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence but admit no punishment will fill the unimaginable hole in their hearts.
Formal sentencing has been set for Dec. 17.