The man who killed 10-year-old Brooklyn Brouhard in a hit-and-run crash in May was sentenced Tuesday to 68 months in prison for the counts of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery.
Jose Alfredo Galiano Meza, of Overland Park, hit a motorcycle carrying Brouhard and her grandfather, Barry Larson, on May 14 at East 1900 Road and K-10. Larson survived his injuries and Brouhard died May 15 at the University of Kansas Medical Hospital.
Following the crash, Meza fled the state and was arrested in Indiana in early June.
Several family members and friends provided victim impact statements before the sentencing. Shelby Brouhard wrote a letter about her daughter and the impact her death had on the entire family.
Brooklyn had a “special ability to bring people together,” her mother said. Following Brooklyn’s death, Shelby struggles with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Jennifer Decker, Brooklyn’s fourth grade teacher at Eudora Elementary School, spoke about her experience teaching Brooklyn.
Brooklyn had a contagious smile, was kind and generous, Decker said. Following Brooklyn’s death, only two days were left of the school year, which was hard for the class to get through.
“The immediate impact of Brooklyn’s death was immense,” Decker said. “We all cried together.”
Renee Davis and Karen Ledom, both grandmothers of Brooklyn’s, also spoke and shared memories of their granddaughter.
Brooklyn taught and inspired everyone to be better, Davis said. The family has experienced disabling emotions as a result of her death, including despair, anxiety and depression, Davis added.
They asked that the maximum sentence be imposed. Brooklyn’s brother, Trenton Ledom, and her father, Kyle Brouhard, also spoke to the courtroom.
“I don’t know how to explain the impact she had on people’s lives,” Kyle said.
Brooklyn’s great-grandmother, aunt, step-grandfather, uncle, friend and two sisters, Kambree and Macklyn, also submitted letters to Judge Amy Hanley.
“I see that Brooklyn was the sun, was the glue of the family, cared for others and protected others,” Hanley said.
Meza pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery on Sept. 15. As a result of the plea deal, the charge for him leaving the scene was dropped.
The 34 months for each count will be served consecutively, totaling to 68. In addition, Meza is required to pay restitution totaling over $31,000. He is also required to register as a violent offender for 15 years.
Reach reporter Abby Shepherd at email@example.com.