DUI driver gets 12 years for killing bicyclist

- Heartbreak, tears and regret were evident during the emotional sentencing of Chris Kimmel Friday. Kimmel pled guilty to killing a bicyclist more than two years ago. 

The victim's family was at the hearing. Michael Lee's step father, Allen Griffin described the devastation his family suffered.

"Nothing in the world is like losing a child. I lost my wife that same day. She is a different person, I mean, totally different person, " Griffin said.

Griffin raised Lee from 4-months-old.

"Michael was my step son, but Michael was my son! He was wonderful, " explained Griffin.

Back in August of 2013,  Lee was riding his bike to work when he was hit and killed by Kimmel who prosecutors say was driving drunk. The impact threw Lee off an overpass on U.S. 92 - 18 stories down.

The medical examiner said he died on impact.

Lee's uncle and veteran police officer, Joe Simms had to console his sister, Lee's mother.

"When she was finally able to tell me what happened, all my 26 years in law enforcement went out the window because I didn't know what to tell her, " said Simms.

But more than two years later, Chris Kimmel seemed to know what to say.

"I want to say I'm sorry over this entire thing... To the family: I know how difficult it is to lose somebody," Kimmel said through tears. "I should have never got into the vehicle that night. I thought I was okay," 

During the sentencing, the defense said Kimmel had a tough childhood and was from a broken home. His older brother Joshua Kimmel tried to sway the judge.

"He is not a criminal, he just made a mistake," Joshua Kimmel cried.

It was a mistake Hillsborough Circuit Judge Samantha Ward felt could have been avoided.

"If he was so intoxicated that he had to be cut off, I don't believe he had just four drinks that night," said Ward.

With that, Kimmel was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The family said it does not compare to the lifetime they face without Michael Lee.

"When this is over today, it may be over for the court, but God knows it isn't going to be over for us or our family," Griffin said after the sentence.

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