Inmate driver sentenced for Lincoln woman's death - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Inmate driver sentenced for Lincoln woman's death

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Posted by: Camila Orti
Almost a year after a Lincoln woman's death, a Nebraska inmate will serve additional time behind bars after a Monday morning sentencing.

A district judge sentenced 36-year-old Jeremy Dobbe to 18-20 years in prison for the death of Joyce Meeks. Dobbe was driving a state-owned work release van when he collided with Meeks' vehicle at 90 mph on June 25. The 47-year-old died at the scene.

"It's still hard, I mean it's going to take a long time for this wound to heal," husband Leonard Meeks said.

Leonard says the loss of his wife isn't getting any easier.

"It's gonna be a day to day, when I wake up, when I go to sleep, still gonna be there," he said.

The family's attorney, Tim Cavanagh, says the tragedy could've been avoided. Dobbe had previous DUI and reckless driving convictions but was still allowed to drive work release vans to and from the prison.

"I mean, why the state would have that kind of program where they're giving keys of vans to convicted criminals, it's just unprecedented," Cavanagh said on the phone.

The state has since discontinued the program, and made a $2 million settlement with the Meeks family.

In court Monday, Dobbe said he was remorseful for his actions. He also made one request of Judge Paul Merritt.

"I would just ask that you would consider running the sentences concurrently, sir," Dobbe said.

That means he'd serve his current sentence and his new one at the same time. Judge Merritt said no, he ruled Dobbe's sentence be served consecutively to the five to seven years he's already serving for meth and terroristic threats convictions. For that sentence, Dobbe was scheduled for release in a little over a year.
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