Man avoids prison for deadly crash that killed U.S. Marine

Arlan Taft gets four years probation

MONTROSE, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - A Tioga man, who pleaded guilty in connection with a deadly crash in Susquehanna County, will not go to prison.

Arlan Taft was sentenced Friday for the wreck that killed a U.S. Marine two years ago.

Taft is going home a free man.

A judge sentenced him to four years probation Friday on two counts of reckless endangerment.

State police say Taft was behind the wheel of a water truck that crashed into the vehicle of Andrew Stevens near Springville in January 2015.

The U.S. Marine was killed as a result.

For the family of the victim, they were not focused on punishment but wanted Taft to accept responsibility for what happened.

"It's not really the jail time. It's just having him admit that, okay, I did mess up. It was my fault that he's not here anymore!" Ken Stevens, father of the victim said.

Prosecutors originally charged Taft with homicide by vehicle.

They allowed him to take a plea deal just as his trial was slated to begin earlier this year.

Defense attorneys believe Taft's truck needed maintenance and he missed a gear while going down a hill.

"He took responsibility for being reckless and not being in control of his vehicle," Susquehanna County District Attorney Robert Klein said.

At his sentencing, Arlan Taft apologized for what happened.

Prosecutors believe it was genuine.

"I believe looking at Mr. Taft it was sincere," Klein said.

While the criminal case is now closed, the pain for the family of Staff Sergeant Andrew Stevens will never go away.

His two boys will now grow up without their father and there will always be a hole at holidays.

The victim's family hopes their sorrow can be a lesson to others to appreciate life.

"You've just got to take one day at a time, make sure you hug your kids because you never know how long it's going to be," Ken Stevens said.

Arlan Taft's attorney declined to comment on the sentencing only saying this was a "very unfortunate case."

The victim's family is currently suing Taft's employer in civil court.

 


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