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Anaheim drunk driver gets 13 years in fatal accident

January 21, 2011 |  6:06 pm

A Santa Ana judge Friday sentenced a drunk driver to 13 years in state prison for stalling his truck on an Orange County freeway and causing a crash that killed another motorist.

Christopher Koppi, 29, of Anaheim was convicted last year of felony gross negligence for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Tests showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20% -- more than twice the legal limit -- two hours after the crash.

In the predawn hours of Aug. 26, 2006, Koppi ran out of gas as he drove south on the 57 Freeway. While stopped on the freeway, he was rear-ended by Richard Pettigrew, 59. Another motorist rear-ended Pettigrew's vehicle, killing him.

During victim impact statements Friday, Pettigrew's family and friends described him as a generous veteran who was active in his community. "He would literally open up his home to help others in need,'' according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.

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-- Catherine Saillant

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