September 2013 accident

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Isaul Ruiz-DominguezWith interpreters translating for him, Isaul Ruiz-Dominguez, 19, of Madras, pleaded guilty Friday to several charges connected to the deaths of a Madras couple in 2013 automobile accident.

Lukas Daniel Hanson, 32, and Diane Elizabeth Hanson, 33, died Sept. 5, 2013, at the scene of the accident at the intersection of Southwest Dover Lane and Southwest Bear Drive.

Ruiz-Dominguez, who was 18 at the time of the crash, had just gotten off work and was driving a co-worker's vehicle — a 1999 GMC Yukon — northbound on Bear Drive, when he failed to stop at a stop sign at Dover Lane, and struck the Hansons' eastbound vehicle, a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, driven by Lukas Hanson.

According to District Attorney Steve Leriche, Ruiz-Dominguez was driving about 45 miles per hour, and had a blood alcohol content of .073, slightly below the legal limit.

The defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, both Class B felonies, aggravated driving while suspended, a Class C felony, and driving under the influence of intoxicants, a Class A misdemeanor.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Annette Hillman sentenced Ruiz-Dominguez to a total of 10 1/2 years in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections, and three years of post-prison supervision, and revoked his driver's license for life.

Family members of the victims spoke about their loved ones before the sentencing.

Karen and Milton Shuman, of Redmond, the parents of Diane Hanson, noted that their daughter was the baby of the family.

"She was loved by her brothers and sisters," said Karen Shuman. "Since you chose to drink and drive, you not only took her life, but her husband, too."

"If and when you get out of jail, you'll get to see your family again," she said. "All I've got is a cemetery plot."

Melvin Shuman said that his daughter was loved by many, loved to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the family, never missed a birthday, and was a good mother to two daughters.

"When I wake up, I can't get back to sleep now," he said. "I hope and pray (that) as a family, we'll overcome this. I'm so thankful for the time we spent with her."

Kenneth Hanson, Lukas Hanson's father, said that everyone must face the consequences of their actions. "We have a choice, and sometimes, without thinking, we make mistakes. Our entire life, we deal with choices of good and evil."

"Losing my son, Lukas, was terrible, and losing his wife, Diane, at the same time is a tragedy," he said, adding that he lives just four blocks from the scene and drives by it almost every day.

"I will have to live with those feelings until I, too, pass," he said.

Hanson advised Ruiz-Dominguez to use the time in prison to finish his education and learn a skill. "When it's time to be released back into society, hopefully, you will use those skills and become a productive part of the community."

The defendant's attorney, Jennifer Kimble, said that Ruiz-Dominguez, a U.S citizen born in the United States, has a fiancee and a child, and he contributed to their household.

Ruiz-Dominguez, who told her that he did not see the stop sign, was horrified when he learned of the couple's deaths, and cooperated throughout the process. "He never requested a trial; he never denied his guilt," she said.

Before he was sentenced, Ruiz-Dominguez tearfully apologized. "I never wanted for this to occur," he said, through his interpreter.

In handing down the sentence, Hillman spoke to the defendant, noting, "There is no sentence, Mr. Ruiz-Dominguez, that the court can impose on you that will ever bring the Hansons back."

"What you choose to do from this day forward will prove to the family that you have learned" from your mistake.

As part of the plea agreement, additional charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and aggravated driving while suspended were dismissed.

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