MADISON (WKOW) -- A Dane County judge sentenced a Deerfield man Tuesday to nine months in jail, after he drove with a suspended license, and caused a fatal crash.
Judge Julie Genovese stayed a prison sentence, and instead placed 35-year old Jesse Bergeron on probation, with a nine-month jail sentence as part of that probation. Genovese said if Bergeron's probation is revoked for any reason, he would begin serving a two-and-a-half year prison sentence.
Bergeron failed to yield to a motorcycle as he turned on to Highway 19 in Sun Prairie in June of last year, killing 47-year old Kim Sylvia of Marshall, and seriously injuring the motorcycle's driver.
Sylvia's family members started a Facebook page in her memory and called for justice, noting Bergeron had three prior drunk driving convictions, and regained his driver's license after the fatal crash, despite having another, separate traffic case. Several family members attended Bergeron's sentencing and offered emotional testimony.
"We have been left saddened and heartbroken every day," Sylvia's daughter, Amanda Sylvia said.
"In understand that people make mistakes," Sylvia's daughter, Angie Sylvia said. "I just don't know how many they have to make before they actually get punished."
Dane County assistant district attorney Emily Thompson asked for just over a year in prison for Bergeron, to reflect the seriousness of his flaunting driving laws.
In a statement to the court, Bergeron apologized to the Sylvia family, expressed remorse, and told Genovese he would better serve the community if allowed to avoid prison and continue parenting his children.
"I can understand how angry Kim Sylvia's family is, because of their loss," Bergeron said.
Genovese said she was "troubled" by Bergeron's willingness to disregard rules, but noted at the time of the collision, Bergeron was not drunk, texting, using a phone, or speeding.
Bergeron's attorney Bill Ginsberg said making an insurance payment would have removed the suspension on Bergeron's license, and stressed a suspension is an administrative sanction, less serious than a court-ordered revocation.
But Thompson said Bergeron's actions should not be minimized. "He made choices that led to this result."
Bergeron was ordered to report to jail next month, and declined comment after the sentencing.
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