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Rutherford DWI driver gets 5 years in death of Carlstadt mother of four

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

A Rutherford man was sentenced today to five years in prison for killing a 28-year-old Carlstadt mother of four on an East Rutherford sidewalk while driving drunk two years ago.

“My family had to wait two years to hear him apologize,” Humberto Munoz said after Victor Kwak, 24, said he was sorry for killing Sandra Munoz-Molina the night of Aug. 22, 2013.

It was too little, too late, Munoz told Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian in Hackensack.

“I don’t picture him getting down on his knees at the crime scene, apologizing to my sister,” Munoz said.

“She wasn’t just a sister to me, she was a mother of four kids,” he said. “They now have to see other kids happy, and they don’t have a mother.”

Turning to Kwak, Munoz said: “If you would have spent $20 that night to go from the bar to your house, this would not have happened. If you have time to go to the gym, you could have spent 20 minutes to come apologize to my family.”

Kwak — who authorities said had a blood-alcohol level of .198 after the crash — hung his head through most of the sentencing, not meeting anyone’s eyes, until the victim’s loved ones spoke.

Munoz-Molina’s four little boys sat quietly in the second row of the gallery, at times huddling together. The youngest, only five, sat on his father’s lap and stayed close to him.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Martin Delaney grimaced after Kwak claimed he “made a mistake.”

“This is not a mistake you can make and apologize and then everything is okay,” he said. “Look at the misery in this courtroom, misery caused by that criminal — and beyond criminal, an idiotic, stupid decision to get behind the wheel of that car.”

Kwak pleaded guilty in April, admitting that he’d had several mixed drinks in the hours leading up to 7:40 p.m. crash.

Authorities said his Lexus GS430 went up on the sidewalk on Railroad Avenue, where it knocked down a tree, a street light and a wooden utility pole, then rammed into Munoz-Molina, who was headed home from her beauty parlor job.

The black box on the Lexus clocked him at 57 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone, Delaney previously told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Munoz-Molina was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with serious head injuries. She died two days later.

Kwak must serve four years and two months before he can apply for parole.

“There is no situation more important than this to deter,” the judge told him.

“You killed someone,” Jerejian said. “So I am giving maximum weight to the need to deter, not only to you specifically but as a general deterrent — because you cannot drink and drive.”

STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia

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