Man accused in DUI crash that killed toddler appears in court

- A year ago, defendant John Rutland seemed full of self-pity during a jailhouse call.

"I'm in serious crap bro. My life's over man. It's over," said Rutland.

But a year behind bars apparently gave him time to reflect, and now he's put his thoughts on paper.

In a letter to the judge, Rutland admits to driving drunk and killing 3-year-old Jacob Bustos after plowing into the child's family's SUV.

Crash scene investigators say Rutland failed a field sobriety test and his blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.

At the time of the crash, Rutland had just completed probation for drunk driving in 2015.

In his letter, he expresses regret.

"The poor choices and decisions, along with extreme clouded judgement that I chose in operating behind the wheel of my vehicle while intoxicated, which ultimately resulted in the death of an innocent 2-year-old child's life... Drinking, drugging and driving," Rutland wrote, in part.

He also said two of his children, one 9 years old and the other 5, were in his car during the crash.

"By the grace of God, they were not injured," he wrote.

During a bond hearing last February, a jailhouse call of Rutland trying to console his kids was played in the courtroom. 

"I need you to be a strong, girl. OK?" said Rutland.

The defendant's trial was set for March but was pushed back. No new trial date has been set.

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