Matthew Notebaert has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a car accident that killed his wife three back in 2014.
But it’s the shocking details behind this fatal crash that has caused the story to go viral.
On March 8, 2014, Notebaert and his wife, Amanda, attended a concert for their first official night out as a couple since welcoming a daughter named Stacey into the world a few months prior.
According to Notebaert’s testimony, he and Amanda drank from a flask of Crown Royal during the event, eventually getting into the car and calling friends to try and hang out more before returning home.
At one point, they pulled over to the side of the road and started having sexual intercourse.
The following details are a bit unclear, but Notebaert pulled back on to Southern Boulevard in Florida with Amanda sitting on his lap.
All Matthew remembers next is waking up in a destroyed car, alongside Amanda’s body.
Investigators say that Notebaert turned onto East Stallion Drive at about 12:30 a.m..
He drove the couple’s Chevrolet Equinox at a speed of around 55 miles per hour (in a 30 mile per hour zone), flying through three signs on the dirt road that warned of a canal ahead.
Based on the arrest report, the vehicle then hit the canal back at such velocity that the SUV went airborne for 30 feet and came to a stop on the opposite bank of the canal.
Amanda Notebaert’s head slammed into the dashboard and windshield.
She died at the scene.
A toxicology report following the crash determined Matthew Notebaert’s blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit in Florida.
He also had marijuana in his system.
“I miss her more than words can express,” Notebaert said of his wife during a tearful plea to Circuit Judge Laura Johnson.
But Her Honor still sentenced Notebaert to time in jail, referring to the crash that killed Amanda as one of “the most senseless, tragic acts” she had ever come across in court.
Lisa and Mike Stacey, Matthew’s in-laws, expressed pain and anger at Notebaert during the trail, saying he restricted their time with their grandchildren since their daughter passed away.
“You had a responsibility to get your wife home safely,” Mike Stacey told Notebaert before asking Johnson to give his son-in-law the “maximum allowable sentence.”
But even prosecutors thought the maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars for this crime was too harsh, given the circumstances.
They asked for a seven-year sentence instead.
In the end, the judge referenced Notebaert’s criminal history, which includes accusations of reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crash.
Notebaert’s list of prior cases includes five felonies, ranging from cocaine possession… to burglary… to grand theft.
“This isn’t your first chance. You’ve been to jail before, you’ve been on probation,” Johnson said, adding:
“You failed your wife, you failed your children and you failed all your family that is here today.”
Matthew and Amanda have a 12-year old son at home and a three-year old daughter.