EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons announced Jeffrey A. Rynders, 28, of Alton, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for a 2013 fatal crash in Alton.
At 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15, 2013, Alton police were dispatched to a fatal crash on Landmarks Boulevard near the Clark Bridge. Gary L. Wright, 66, and Lora Wright, 63, were killed when Rynders’ Nissan Sentra collided with a motorcycle after he failed to yield while making a left turn. Both victims, who were husband and wife, were from Wood River. Rynders pleaded guilty June 20 to two counts of aggravated DUI resulting in death, a Class 2 felony.
Assistant State’s Attorney Crystal Uhe, chief of the Criminal Division, argued in support of the maximum sentence Wednesday afternoon in front of Circuit Judge Kyle Napp. Rynders received the maximum sentence of 10 years on each count of aggravated DUI resulting in death, which he will have to serve consecutively. He will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence.
“Gary and Lora Wright were amazing people who surrounded themselves with an incredible family and group of friends,” Gibbons said in a press release. “The heartbreak and loss caused by the defendant to the Wrights and all those left behind was immeasurable. I hope and pray that this lengthy prison sentence will give them some measure of closure and an opportunity for healing from this tragedy. It is also my hope that the judge’s 20-year prison sentence sends a clear message to anyone who may drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs that when you hurt or kill someone, you will be punished severely and you will spend decades behind bars.”
Gibbons commended Uhe, Victim’s Advocate Desi Jellen, the Alton Police Department, Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn, and all of the medical personnel who assisted throughout the course of the investigation, whose coordinated efforts secured the successful resolution to the case.