Amanda Shumaker said Tuesday that “a weight has been lifted."
The Grand Haven Township woman's friends and family wiped tears from their eyes as Muskegon County Judge William Marietti sentenced Steven Paul Spencer, 25, to at least four years and up to 15 years in prison for the death of her husband in a car crash more than a year ago.
The crash near Ravenna killed John Shumaker and injured one of his daughters.
When the judge read the sentence, Madison Shumaker leaned over to her mother and whispered, “Finally — justice.”
John Shumaker, 37, and his then-10-year-old daughter, Madison, were returning home from a rained-out softball tournament when Spencer pulled out to pass another vehicle and struck the Shumakers’ car head-on in June 2012.
Amanda Shumaker and their younger daughter, Kaitlynn, were traveling behind John’s vehicle when the crash occurred.
Spencer’s attorney, Matt Kacel, said his client wanted to write letters to the Shumaker family to apologize for his actions, but he was advised against it for legal reasons.
Kacel said his client passed a vehicle when he shouldn’t have — and Spencer extends his regret, sadness and condolences to the Shumaker family
“It is our belief that is a result of a lapse in judgment,” the attorney said.
When the judge asked Spencer if he had anything to say during his sentencing hearing, he responded, “No, sir.”
Amanda and Madison Shumaker fought through tears at Tuesday's court hearing to address the man who they said changed their lives forever.
Madison said she remembered her father as a funny man who helped her with homework and shared her passion for softball. She also shared the images from the car crash — a bloody car, bloody shirt and yelling, “You killed my daddy,” only to be met with a blank stare from Spencer — that she said would haunt her every day.
“I lost my best friend that day,” said the girl, now 11.
Amanda Shumaker said the images from the crash replay in her mind every day, including trying to reach into the car to shake her husband. One minute she was kissing him goodbye at the baseball field, and the next she was kissing his forehead and looking into his eyes that would no longer look back at her, she said.
Shumaker said Spencer’s actions have filled her with “immeasurable” pain to live without her best friend, soul mate and father of her children who will miss their first dates, school dances and graduations.
“Your actions have taken my life, too,” she said.
Robert Shumaker addressed Spencer about the man he considered his best friend and the first person he called to talk to — his brother, John Shumaker.
“He was an amazing man,” Robert said. “His whole goal was to make everything around him better.”
Robert Shumaker said his brother “was an amazing man” whose goal was to make everything around him better.
“His death has destroyed me,” he said.
Amanda Shumaker said she is thankful for the community’s support throughout the past year as she has taken life day by day.
Robert Shumaker said the sentencing has brought a little closure after a difficult year of mourning the loss of the man who was more than his brother.
“(It means) no more standing in place,” he said. “I get to take a step forward.”
Although the sentencing for the criminal case closes one chapter for John Shumaker’s family, Amanda Shumaker said a civil lawsuit against Spencer remains pending.
In addition, a hearing for restitution costs will be set at a later date.