'I wish it would have been me.' 19-year-old sentenced for local crash that killed man, severely injured woman - East Idaho News
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‘I wish it would have been me.’ 19-year-old sentenced for local crash that killed man, severely injured woman

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RIGBY — A 19-year-old responsible for the death of a man last year in a Jefferson County crash apologized for what he did with tears in his eyes before he was sentenced Monday afternoon.

Alonso Hernandez-Garcia, of Mattawa, Washington, appeared in a Jefferson County courtroom in front of District Judge Stevan Thompson. He wore a striped jumpsuit with orange handcuffs. Garcia had an interpreter with him in court who helped translate for him because he spoke Spanish.

Garcia was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter last year after an incident on Aug. 11.

The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a $5,000 compensatory fine. He pleaded guilty and signed a plea agreement earlier this year.

Thompson sentenced Garcia to prison for a period of 10 years, with seven years being fixed and a three-year indeterminate period to follow.

RELATED | New details about fatal Jefferson County crash that led to vehicular manslaughter charge

RELATED | A local woman’s road to recovery after horrific crash that killed her boyfriend

What happened

Court documents said Garcia was driving east on U.S. Highway 20 when he lost control of his vehicle — a gray 2012 Honda Accord.

He drove through the median and into westbound traffic, crashing head-on into a white 2007 Nissan Murano, according to Idaho State Police.

The driver of the Nissan, Broc Wade Stoddard, 22, died at the scene of the accident. Stoddard’s girlfriend, Hannah Britton, 24, was a passenger.

Britton was rushed to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls by ambulance, then flown by air ambulance to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City due to the extent of her injuries.

A witness of the crash told an ISP trooper the Honda – which Garcia had been driving – had passed her traveling eastbound on US-20 at speeds over 90 mph. Court documents said the speed limit in the area is 70 mph.

Victim impact statements

In court, Garcia sat next to the interpreter and his attorney, John Stosich. Garcia was seen with a tissue, wiping his tears away as victim impact statements were read at his sentencing.

Jonathan Stoddard, Broc’s father, read his statement describing what kind of person his son was. He said Broc was an individual everyone deserved to meet at least once in their life.

He was kind, respectful and cared for those around him.

“Broc was robbed of experiencing the joy of marriage to his loving, beautiful and supportive girlfriend Hannah. Deprived of becoming a father…cheated out of becoming an uncle. Broc will never know what it is like to be called daddy or grandpa,” Stoddard said.

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Broc Stoddard and Hannah Britton. | Courtesy Hannah Britton

Stoddard told the courtroom Broc would never feel the sensation of completing his college degree.

“All of these were taken away because of Alonso’s choice to be careless, negligent, irresponsible and thoughtless,” he said.

Stoddard was seen crying throughout parts of his statement as he was talking about his son.

“How can I hang on to so much pain and anger against Alonso and try to move on with life and heal? How should we act instead of react to this situation?” Stoddard read.

He said Broc would have compassion and would extend love.

“I ask that this court pronounce a suitable sentence that will teach and help Alonso learn and possibly one day become a man that will contribute to society in a meaningful manner,” Stoddard said. “I plead that both justice and mercy have their day in court for all to overcome this tribulation.”

A statement was then read by Jefferson County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Peterson on behalf of Broc’s mother — Bonnie Tibbitts.

“The horror we have lived every second of every day is brutal. I am speaking from a mother’s broken heart. My son was my world. He was everything I ever dreamed of,” Peterson read from the statement. “Our hearts and lives have been shattered and this cannot be mended. It is final.”

Britton’s mother, Janie Thomas, read a statement on behalf of her daughter. Britton was in court and crying throughout the statements that were read.

“My life was changed forever. Weeks later, I woke up in a hospital, wondering why I was there. I asked nurses, my family, my friends not only why I was in a hospital bed, but where my boyfriend was,” Thomas read for Britton. “My parents did not break the news to me until three weeks later when I was more cognitively aware.”

Britton doesn’t remember anything from the accident but said it will forever be the worst thing that has ever happened to her.

Thomas read a sheet-long list of injuries Britton has painfully endured and will have to manage for the rest of her life.

Britton attended Brigham Young University-Idaho and was close to graduating.

“Every day, I dream of waking up in my college apartment hearing Broc’s knock on the door, planning our future and having homework being my biggest stress in life,” Thomas read of Britton. “But that is just a dream. This is my reality now. I am living out my own worst nightmare.”

She said she did not recognize her face in the mirror or her life anymore.

“I remember the day we got in my car on Aug. 11. I lost my beloved sweetheart, the love of my life. A family lost their son and brother. Quite literally the most wonderful man that I had the blessing of meeting,” Thomas read for Britton.


Peterson told the judge Garcia pleaded guilty to his actions and that he does not have a prior criminal record. He noted the pre-sentence investigation report stated that Garcia noted feeling bad and that it was not his intention to ever hurt anyone.

“He also said he thinks about this incident every day,” Peterson said.

He mentioned Garcia does not have substance abuse problems. Garcia was not impaired during the crash.

Peterson recommended a sentence of five years fixed and five years indeterminate, imposed for a total of 10.

Jefferson County
Jefferson County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Peterson. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com

Garcia’s defense attorney said there were three sentencing factors that stood out in his mind.

“One is punishment for punishment’s sake. Two is the deterrent effect that we must always attempt to realize from sentences,” Stosich said. “And finally your honor, the future and whatever impact this sentence might have on the future.”

Stosich said Garcia wishes it was he who had passed away and not Broc. He added there was some hope after Broc’s father had read his statement in court about Garcia possibly one day becoming a man who will contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Stosich recommended a rider with an underlying sentence of five years fixed and five years indeterminate.


With the help of the interpreter, Garcia addressed the court crying.

“I ask for forgiveness for what happened. It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone that day. I wish it would have been me, the one who lost his life and not to that person,” he said crying and sniffling. “And the young girl and with everything that happened to her. … I wish that the young girl and the young man were happy in their lives and that I would have lost my life … that’s all.”

Judge Thompson weighed everything he had heard.

Jefferson County
Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com

“It’s not an easy decision. I watched Mr. Garcia as the victim statements were read and his reactions. He was obviously quite emotional during portions of those statements,” Thompson said. “I sensed that he is remorseful for what has happened here.”

Thompson said he is impacted. He has children of his own and is a citizen who drives on the highways. He explained he’s witnessed careless behaviors of drivers.

“Mr. Garcia, you were speeding and driving in a reckless matter with total disregard for the life and safety for others which brings a need for punishment and deterrence,” Thompson said. “You have no driver’s license and insurance.”

Thompson said Garcia was sent by his mother to the United States from Mexico and that, as far as he knew, Garcia was living a law-abiding lifestyle. He mentioned the court knows Garcia would be deported upon being released from prison.

He sentenced Garcia and said he hoped he could get through the sentence.

“I’ve factored in the fact of your age and how you might be treated in prison and how the older inmates may try to take advantage of you or indoctrinate you into prison gangs,” Thompson said to Garcia. “You’ve just got to rise above that and do your best to do the right thing in prison.”

“And if so, when you are 26 years old, you can be released to move on with your life, whereas others in the courtroom don’t have that option, so you should count yourself lucky.”

Garcia was then escorted out of the courtroom.

EastIdahoNews.com reached out to Stoddard for comment after the hearing. He said he appreciated how the judge handled himself and thought everyone did their jobs appropriately.

“To know that this is closure and we are at the end of the court system is good to have, but it is still going to take a lifetime to heal,” he said. “My heart just pours out to Hannah, knowing that her broken body is going to take years to mend and her mind.”

Stoddard said he hopes Garcia will have learned a valuable lesson by the time he is out of prison and that he can contribute to society.

“I hope that my son feels as though justice was served,” he added.

Jefferson County
District Judge Stevan Thompson. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com