Bruce Cromoga liked to fish, but what he liked better was teaching other people how to do it, his friend and family told a Pierce County judge Friday.
Cromoga, a 61-year-old Milton resident, was returning from a fishing trip with his grandson Nov. 11, 2010, when a drunken driver crossed the center line on Alder Cutoff Road in East Pierce County and smashed head-on into the retired Boeing employee’s pickup.
Cromoga suffered severe injuries in the fiery crash and died in the hospital about a month later. The boy was hurt but survived.
Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan on Friday sentenced the man behind the wheel of the other vehicle, Dana Boyer of Eatonville, to three years, 11 months in prison.
Boyer, 57, previously pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
He said before sentencing he was anguished about what he’d done and has been lobbying lawmakers to make drunk-driving laws even stricter.
Tests on blood drawn from Boyer four hours after the wreck showed his blood-alcohol level at .14. The legal limit in Washington is .08.
Boyer said Friday he thinks even the smallest trace of alcohol is too much.
“I thought I was fine to drive,” said Boyer, who admitted having three drinks earlier that day. “There should be zero tolerance for drunk driving.”
Cromoga’s relatives and friends said the world lost a good man in the crash.
Cromoga volunteered at a local Veterans Administration hospital since his retirement, teaching disabled people about the joys of fishing. He also volunteered at youth fishing events.
“He would be the guy who always took the dirty job of cleaning the fish,” said his friend of 30 years, Larry See.
Cromoga also was a loving husband, father and grandfather, they said.
“He was my everything,” his widow, Shari Cromoga, told Hogan.
The victim’s daughter, Natasha Cromoga, told the judge she wished Boyer could get more than the maximum four years, six months allowed by law.
“No time’s enough,” she said through tears. “He was a great man.”
Boyer, who faced a minimum sentence of three years five months, then said he was “filled with remorse and sorrow.”
“I apologize from the depths of my heart,” he said before Hogana handed down her senetnece.
Hogan handed down her sentence.