LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Louisville man was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Tuesday for driving drunk and crashing in a golf cart near Seneca Park in 2019, killing a father and seriously injuring his friend.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Angela McCormick Bisig handed down the sentence against Lazaro Pozo Illas, who a jury found guilty in July of causing the crash that killed Christopher Schulz, 45, and injured the friend de Schulz, Brian Hovekamp.
Pozo Illas, 32, was found guilty at the conclusion of the July jury trial of one count of murder, one count of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, one count of conduct of a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants and a driving charge of a motor vehicle without a driver’s license.
These charges stem from the August 11, 2019 accident that killed Schulz, 45, a married father of three children, and injured Hovekamp, who was driving the cart that afternoon at 2300 Pee Wee Reese Road, near the Seneca Golf Course clubhouse.
The charges of wanton assault and endangerment involved Hovekamp and two friends who were riding in the Mustang with Pozo Illas.
Tests showed Pozo Illas had a blood alcohol level of 0.16%, twice the legal limit, police had previously said.
He was driving his friend’s Ford Mustang at 53mph just before crashing into the cart as it crossed a marked crosswalk on Pee Wee Reese Road, and the posted speed limit in that area is 25mph, prosecutors noted during the July trial.
Schulz and Hovekamp, two friends on a golf outing this summer afternoon, were thrown from the cart on impact.
Schulz died later that day at the University of Louisville Hospital, while Hovekamp testified at the July trial that he had staples left in his head, broken ribs, a broken hip, a wound in the shoulder and elbow, nerve damage under his left knee and a broken bone. in his neck which would later require emergency surgery months later.
The jury agreed with prosecutors last month in recommending a 30-year prison sentence.
Murder is a capital offense in Kentucky that can also result in a 20 to 50 year sentence or life in prison, but Pozo Illas did not face the death penalty in the case.
Pozo Illas, who according to court documents has a home address in Louisville and moved from Cuba to Kentucky about two years before the accident, had no serious criminal history and had worked in Kentucky for several years to support the needs of a girl and her family.
Represented by public defenders, he showed little emotion and did not testify at the July trial.
“He’s human like all of us, and his moral weight is heavy,” his public defender, Michael Lemke, said during the jury trial.
Schulz’s widow spoke at trial and again at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing about the tremendous loss her family and children suffered in 2019.
“There was no reason for that to happen,” Kelly Walters Schulz said Tuesday.
Schulz was recalled after his death as a devout Catholic who was active with his church, St. Albert the Great, and who has helped young people develop leadership skills as a Certified Life and Career Coach.
Contact Billy Kobin at [email protected]