Man who ran red light, hit and killed Chandler mom sentenced to 30 days in jail

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CHANDLER, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- A red-light runner who killed a Chandler mother and injured her two young children received his sentence and it's a lot lighter than one might expect.

Pamela Hesselbacher and her children, ages 2 and 3, were in a crosswalk when they were hit by a pickup truck, driven by William Epperlein.

Epperlein had a suspended license, no insurance and has a history of driving under the influence. Due to loopholes in Arizona law and a plea deal, he was only charged with a misdemeanor and will serve 30 days in jail for the death he caused.

"And I'm sorry.. so I apologize to the court and I most certainly apologize to the family."

Epperlein expressed his remorse during his sentencing on March 5.

"You made the conscious decision to drive even though you did not have the legal right.. stop on red," said Chandler Municipal Court Judge, Gary LaFleur.

The judge gave Epperlein the maximum sentence: 30 days in jail and one-year probation. Epperlein can't drink alcohol or drive for 180 days.

"Was justice served? ..a portion," said Jody Kieran, Pam's mother.

At the time of the crash, Epperlein stayed at the scene. 

Pam's family wanted more jail time for killing the young mother, but the Maricopa County Attorney's Office did not prosecute the case as a felony. That spurred the passage of "Pam's Law," which increases the consequences for drivers that cause deadly or serious injury crashes. 

"For us, it was a class 3 misdemeanor. It now is a class 1 misdemeanor.. which also gives the judge leeway in sentencing," said Kieran.

Kieran spearheaded the change. Epperlein could have been sentenced to six months in jail under the new law. He would have also faced additional charges and jail time for crashing into the two children.

"Ryan is old enough to remember his mom. He remembers the entire accident," said Kieran. "Audrey was only 14 months old at the time. She's only going to learn about her mother through what people tell her."

If Epperlein violates any of the terms for his probation, he will end up back in court. And Pam's family says if that happens, they will be there, pushing to put him behind bars again.