Enrico D. Taylor was sentenced Wednesday to more than 15 years in prison for hitting two U.S. Army recruiters with his car last year and dragging one of the men a mile.
Staff Sgt. Travis Torgerson, 42, asked Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen to give Taylor the most time possible. The judge obliged — sentencing him to the maximum 15 ¾ years — after hearing from Torgerson and Taylor, who asked for forgiveness.
"I've seen atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I have to go through this in my own back yard?" Torgerson said.
Taylor, 53, struck Torgerson and Staff Sgt. Michael Stroud at the Crossroads of Roseville Shopping Center about 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 17. Taylor dragged Torgerson for about a mile as other drivers tried to alert him that Torgerson was trapped under his Jeep Cherokee.
Authorities and Torgerson believe Taylor willfully ignored those efforts.
Taylor stopped his vehicle and tried to dislodge Torgerson, at one point by kicking him.
Torgerson suffered a broken leg, tailbone and ribs, as well as severe abrasions that required skin grafts. Stroud suffered scrapes and bruises.
Tilsen said it was a "miracle" that Torgerson wasn't killed. Torgerson survived because while his leg was trapped, he was able to pull his upper body up and cling onto the rear window windshield wiper.
Taylor said it was an accident and he panicked.
"I beg your forgiveness," Taylor said as he wept loudly.
Taylor asked Tilsen for probation instead of prison time.
"This is just unspeakable behavior," Tilsen said. "Tears and all, I'm not convinced."
Sentencing guidelines called for a sentence between about 11 years and 15 ¾ years. Taylor pleaded guilty in November to first-degree assault and criminal vehicular operation.
Torgerson said chronic pain makes it difficult for him to play with his 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.
Torgerson is on medical leave from the military, and it's unclear if he'll be discharged. He has served for 21 years.
"Is [the sentence] enough?" Torgerson asked. "I don't know. I've got to live with it for the rest of my life."