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Bolingbrook man gets 12-year sentence for fatal DUI crash

Jay Cox

Jay Cox

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Updated: April 26, 2013 12:08AM

On the February 2012 night when Jay Cox’s Jeep collided with Efren Garcia’s Nissan, lives changed forever.

Garcia’s wife, Stephanie, could see the crash from the front yard of her Bolingbrook home. She saw her husband’s crushed car and watched as crews worked to pull him from the wreckage.

Garcia, 30, was pronounced dead less than two hours later. Cox, who crawled out of his rolled Jeep at the scene and asked for cigarettes, was arrested on an aggravated DUI charge.

Cox, 36, of Bolingbrook, pleaded guilty to that charge on Feb. 8. On Thursday, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison by Will County Judge Daniel Rozak.

“The thought that kept running through me that night as I tried to comprehend what was going on was, ‘Did he hurt? Did he feel any pain? Had he died instantly?’ ” Stephanie Garcia said, wearing a T-shirt with her husband’s picture printed on it while speaking during Cox’s sentencing hearing last week.

“Could I have done anything to save him? The ‘what ifs’ constantly go through my head every day,” she said. “My heart skips a beat every time I drive past the corner of my block where the accident happened. I say a quick prayer that he doesn’t miss me as much as I miss him.”

As part of Cox’s plea, prosecutors agreed to ask for no more than 12 years in prison, but they argued the sentence should be the full 12 years or close to it.

Cox’s attorney, Michael Renzi, pointed out that Cox had no previous DUI charges and his most recent criminal charge before this case had been 13 years ago.

“This is a horrible situation, Judge. But we all know . . . but for the grace of God go so many of us,” Renzi said.

He added that Cox told him he didn’t want probation.

“He knows he has to do some time,” Renzi said.

During the hearing, Cox’s wife pleaded with Rozak to give Cox a short prison sentence.

At the end of the hearing, Cox turned toward Garcia’s family sitting in the courtroom gallery and apologized.

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