Unfortunately, Stephanie's grandpa did not live long enough to see the end of this trial. He followed it ever-closely for nearly two years. ... A Wisc. Thieme descendant. ----------------------- Driver gets 10 years in 4-fatality crash Families of victims say loss has devastated them
Last Updated: April 13, 2004 An Illinois man who killed a Burlington couple, their youngest daughter and one of her friends in a drunken-driving accident was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.
The sentence, which was delivered at the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, Ill., came more than two years after the accident and close to three months after David Malin pleaded guilty to four counts of reckless homicide.
Judging from statements and letters submitted in court, Malin's family and the families of the victims will never be the same.
Malin was driving on U.S. Highway 12 in Richmond, Ill., 20 miles from Burlington, on March 16, 2002, when he collided with a van carrying Bruce and Lynn Thieme, their 17-year-old daughter, Stephanie, and 16-year-old Renee Kleemann.
Court records show he had been drinking in Lake Geneva before the accident. Police tests showed that Malin's blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.19, well over the level considered evidence of intoxication.
In their statements, members of the Thieme and Kleemann families said it will be difficult for them to move on even after resolution of the criminal case.
"When I think about my future, I think about how I won't have either of them in my life," Angela Thieme said of the deaths of her parents. "I won't have my mom to help me get ready on my wedding day. I won't have my dad to walk me down the aisle. My children will never know their grandparents. . . . A day doesn't go by that . . . something happens and I think, 'I gotta call Mom and Dad," or 'Steph would love that.' And then everything hits me again and I feel like I'm drowning in pain and loss."
Kleemann's stepfather, Mark Applekamp, said depression descended on him, Kleemann's mother and their two other children after the teen's death. Because of the depression, he went months without working and was unable to maintain productivity after returning to his job.
He said his wife has trouble leaving the house and both children see therapists.
"I am tired, tired all the time," Applekamp said. "I have lost my ambition. I feel empty inside. I would like to walk away from everything. I want to give up. . . . The fact of the matter is that death changes your life, changes the person you were and will become. Just one person's death has the potential to change dozens of people's lives."
According letters submitted on Malin's behalf, his family also has suffered.
A psychiatrist said in a letter that he had put Malin on medication for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. A priest who counseled Malin when he was hospitalized said Malin struggled with how to best communicate with the victims' families.
Malin, who is married and has two sons, has lost his home improvement business and has moved his family in with his wife's parents. The parents said in a letter that Malin suffers from flashbacks and nightmares and that his youngest son has shown signs of separation anxiety.
Malin's lawyer, Robert Will, said Tuesday that the letters of support were likely a factor in the judge's decision to hand down a 10-year prison sentence. Four counts of reckless homicide could have brought more than 20 years in prison.