Semi driver who killed MN family of 5 in Nebraska crash sentenced
OGALLALA, NE (KMSP) - Tony Weekly, the driver of a semi truck that killed a Minnesota family of five in 2016, was sentenced to 180 days in jail today in Nebraska.
In July 2016, Weekly, 55, of Baker, Florida was driving a semi headed through a construction zone on I-80 in Ogallala, Nebraska that crashed into the back of a minivan. The car was carrying 29-year-old Jamison Pals, 29-year-old Kathryne Pals and their three children 3-year-old Ezra, 23-month-old Violet and three-month old Calvin. All five died in the crash.
The Pals family was on I-80 on their way to Colorado to receive missionary training for an upcoming trip to Japan.
The crash also took the life of Terry Sullivan, a Colorado man, in a chain reaction after striking the Pals’ vehicle.
At the time of the accident, Jamison’s father, Rick Pals, told Fox 9, “This guy made a mistake that cost us people that we love dearly, but I know Jamison himself wouldn’t hold anything like this against anybody.”
At the sentencing Friday, Rick Pals testified in court, again echoing a forgiving tone. He asked the court for a lighter sentence for Weekly.
“I can honestly say Tony [Weekly], both families have forgiven you,” Pals said. “I know how much God has forgiven me. How could I not forgive you?”
Weekly prepared a statement for the court and the family telling them that there is not a day that goes by in which he doesn’t think about the day of the crash.
“If there was anything I could do to stop that accident two years ago from happening, I would do it,” Weekly said. “I wake up every day and I think about Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, Calvin and Mr. Sullivan.”
Kathy Pals said she is okay with the court’s decision, saying, “Really nothing is fair, but I think that suffering with the thought that you killed six people is enough.”
Weekly will report to Keith County Jail Aug. 3 for his incarceration. He will receive credit for time already served, will have 24 months probation and will pay a $100 fine, according to KNOP.