- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man convicted of causing a crash that killed his girlfriend has been ordered to spend 11½ to 23 years in prison. But authorities need to find him first.

Kirk Randler, who was convicted in absentia last March, was a no-show for his sentencing Tuesday, the Pocono Record (https://bit.ly/2cZotEm) reported.

Randler, 48, was convicted of vehicular homicide, aggravated assault and other charges. Prosecutors say he was speeding with Katrina Strausser and her sons, Gunner and Rick, when his car crashed head-on into another vehicle in June 2014. Strausser, 42, was badly hurt and taken off life support the next day.

They had just attended Gunner’s graduation from Pocono Mountain High School East in Swiftwater when they got into Randler’s car.

Witnesses said Randler “peeled out” of the high school parking lot, drove to Route 611 and then headed north, speeding.

“We don’t know if Mr. Randler was impatient or wanted to show off how fast his car could go, but what happened next was not an accident,” Assistant District Attorney Curtis Rogers said. “It was a tragedy that could have been prevented had he chosen to drive in a safe, responsible manner.”

Despite his passengers telling him to slow down - Randler passed two vehicles before hitting a cement median and losing control, slamming into another car head-on, witnesses said.

Doctors put Katrina Strausser on life-support.

“We had to watch my daughter struggle to take her last breath the day after my grandson graduated from high school, her mother, Bonnie Hardenstine, said while addressing the court during the sentencing hearing. “I’ve cried every day ever since.”

Randler was present when the jury was picked for his trial, but absent for the entire trial itself. Defense attorney Brett Riegel said he hasn’t seen his client in months.

Judge Stephen Higgins said he wasn’t surprised that the defendant didn’t appear for his trial or sentencing, citing numerous previous convictions.

“It speaks to his character,” Higgins said. “This was supposed to be one of the happiest days for this family. Mr. Randler destroyed that happiness by causing a tragedy that didn’t have to happen.”

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This story has been corrected to show the defendant’s last name is Randler, not Randall.

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Information from: Pocono Record, https://www.poconorecord.com/

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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