What to Know
- NJ man convicted of driving under influence of drugs and killing a beloved teacher and his 5-year-old daughter was sentenced to 37 years
- The sentencing hearing Thursday morning proved to be extremely emotional as family members of the victims spoke
- Scott Hahn was convicted of homicide and aggravated manslaughter a couple of months ago
A New Jersey man convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and killing a beloved teacher and his 5-year-old daughter in February 2016 was sentenced Thursday to 37 years behind bars.
The sentencing hearing Thursday morning proved to be extremely emotional as family members of the victims spoke.
Scott Hahn was convicted of homicide and aggravated manslaughter a couple of months ago.
Hahn was found guilty of rear-ending Tim O’Donnell on the approach to the toll plaza on the westbound New Jersey Turnpike in Jersey City. Hahn was allegedly traveling at 53 mph in an area where the speed limit is 5 mph.
The impact sent O’Donnell’s vehicle into oncoming traffic prompting a deadly crash. O'Donnell, a science teacher at County Prep High School, was pronounced dead on the scene. His daughter, Bridget, was taken to the hospital, where police said she was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors say Hahn was high at the time having taken multiple Adderall pills in a 24-hour period without a prescription. Adderall is a prescribed amphetamine.
On Thursday, Hahn sat and listened as family, friends and co-workers of O’Donnell pleaded for the maximum sentence.
Bridget’s grandfather tearfully spoke to the court.
“I just want to say, I don’t want revenge. I want justice. That’s what I want,” he said, adding that the victims are not gone from his heart.
“You have to remember, it’s the living that suffer for all that he did,” Bridget’s grandfather went on to say.
Hahn also gave very emotional testimony. He sobbed as he explained that he has relived the accident and deaths of the father and daughter a thousand times in his head and begged for forgiveness.
Hahn faced a possible sentence of life in prison, but the judge decided not to deliver the maximum sentence. However, she did give out the sentence she did due in part because Hahn did not admit to drug use during the trial. Multiple narcotics were found in Hahn’s system, but he consistently blamed that on other people claiming the drugs belonged to his friends. The judge decided that this meant he still posed a danger to society.
Additionally, Hahn’s driver license was revoked for life.
Following the sentencing, Pam, the mother and wife of the victims, spoke outside the courtroom.
Pam, who survived cancer five years before the fatal accident, said she thought Hahn's tears in court were phony.
She also went on to say she is glad the trial is over, although, there will never be justice because her husband and daughter can never come back.