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18-Year Jail Sentence For Crash That Killed Cop

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Officer Dustin Dodson died Saturday night after a traffic accident earlier in the day. (Photo credit: Lancaster Police Department).

Officer Dustin Dodson (credit: Lancaster Police Department)

CLEBURNE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - A driver blamed for a 2012 crash that left an off-duty North Texas police officer dead has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

A jury in Cleburne on Monday ordered the penalty for 22-year-old Ricardo Espinoza of Alvarado. Espinoza last week pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash over last July’s wreck along Highway 67 in Venus.

Investigators said that Espinoza was legally drunk when he drove his pickup truck into a motorcycle being driven by 25-year-old Dustin Dodson. The victim was a Lancaster police officer who was heading home after getting off work.

Prosecutors said that Espinoza’s blood-alcohol level was at .086, above the legal limit. Traces of methamphetamine were also found in his blood.

Espinoza was sentenced to 18 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter and 10 years for leaving the scene of the accident. The terms must be served concurrently. He had faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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