Drunken driver gets 13 years for fatal wreck
'For my son's life, it is not enough'
Topeka ? When Victor Anzua-Torres asked the family of Ryan Ostendorf, the man he killed, for forgiveness, Ryan’s father turned his back.
“He has no right to speak to me,” Robert Ostendorf said later.
Anzua-Torres, 29, was sentenced Thursday to prison for 13 years and nine months for driving drunk and crashing his car into one driven by Ryan Ostendorf, who was 28, a paramedic and Kansas University student who dreamed of being a doctor.
The sentencing capped an emotional hearing where Ryan’s family, friends and co-workers spoke about his compassion, helpfulness and bright future, and how Anzua-Torres’ actions wrecked the lives of many.
The crash occurred the night of Dec. 5, 2005, on U.S. Highway 40 near Shawnee Heights Road.
Ostendorf was driving to work at American Medical Response. Many of his co-workers responded to the accident, rendering aid to Anzua-Torres and others at the scene.
‘An enormous hole’
Anzua-Torres had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08, authorities said. He had no driver’s license, had a prior drunken-driving arrest and had been deported as an illegal immigrant once before.
He was driving a Cadillac Escalade east in the westbound lane when he struck Ostendorf’s Jeep Cherokee.
“My family has an enormous hole where Ryan’s life ought to be,” said Ryan’s mother, Jo Ann Ostendorf, of Gothenburg, Neb.
She wore Ryan’s lab coat from KU as she spoke in the Shawnee County courtroom.
She said Ryan was a biology student at KU and planned on being a cardiologist.
“He wanted to mend broken hearts and he died of one,” she said, adding that KU granted him a degree after his death. The mother said she would miss her son’s bear hugs and smile. “I will never hear him say, ‘I love you Mama.'”
Meagan Kennedy, Ryan’s fiance who also is a paramedic, said Ryan was her “soul mate and love of my life.”
“You left all of us with holes in our hearts that can never be filled,” she said to Anzua-Torres.
Anzua-Torres frequently looked down during the statements, sometimes dabbing tears from his eyes as an interpreter translated for him.
Speaking through the interpreter, Anzua-Torres asked the family to forgive him and said he felt remorse for Ryan’s death.
“I never wanted this to happen,” he said, sometimes reading from a handwritten sheet of notebook paper. “I ask forgiveness with all my heart for the pain I have caused.”
Shawnee County Assistant Dist. Atty. Karen Wittman sought the maximum penalty for Anzua-Torres.
“He set out to hurt somebody that night,” she said. A friend had tried to drive, but although Anzua-Torres was drunk, he demanded that he drive to show everyone how “bad” he was, she said.
“On that day, you can’t get any more selfish than what he was,” she said.
Shawnee County District Court Judge Nancy Parrish sentenced Anzua-Torres to the maximum for the reckless second-degree murder charge: 11 years and six months.
The remaining time on his sentence was due to additional charges related to the incident including driving under the influence and not having a driver’s license.
Parrish ordered the sentences to run consecutively. Earlier, Anzua-Torres’ public defender, Richard Jones, requested that the sentences for the various offenses run at the same time.
But Parrish declined.
“You have really exhibited a flagrant disregard of our laws,” she told Anzua-Torres.
She noted he had ignored an order to receive treatment after his previous drunken-driving conviction. He also had been deported in 2000 and been arrested for several other offenses, including possession of drug paraphernalia.
After the hearing, Jo Ann Ostendorf said she appreciated that Parrish gave Anzua-Torres the maximum sentence on the murder charge, but added, “For my son’s life, it is not enough.”