PAINESVILLE -- The man charged in a fatal crash involving a Willoughby police officer has been sentenced to 48 months behind bars.
Scott Leland was sentenced Monday morning for the deadly crash in September in which officer Jason Gresko was killed.
That night, Gresko was responding to a call when Leland, who was driving a pickup truck, pulled in front of the cruiser on Harmony Lane.
When Gresko swerved to avoid a collision, the cruiser slammed into a tree. Gresko later died at a nearby hospital.
In December, authorities said Leland had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 at the time of the crash.
"Today and for the rest of my life, I'm mourning the loss of a hero, my brother, and my best friend," said Nick Gresko, Jason's brother, when he addressed a packed Lake County courtroom.
For the friends and family of Officer Jason Gresko, the healing will never quite be complete.
"I hate what this loss has done to my family," said his mother-in-law Denise Powell.
He left behind his wife and now 3-year-old daughter, Olivia.
"I have many memories with Jason. That opportunity has been stolen from Olivia. She will be lucky to remember one good moment spent with him," said his wife, Sandra. "When we say our prayers, she asks me to cover my ears so that I don't hear her ask God to let Jason come home."
"When faced with a split-second decision, he chose to risk his own life and, in turn, save the family of the man who caused his death," said Chief David Easthon of the Cleveland Clinic Police, where Gresko worked full time.
"Scott Leland is a good man who made a bad choice. He made a bad mistake and that's why we're here," said Judge Joe Gibson. "This is an absolutely classic example of why people should not drink and drive."
The defense described Leland as an unlikely defendant: a hard worker and a father who had only a speeding ticket before the crash.
The failing Leland says he cannot take back: his decision to get behind the wheel that night.
"To the Gresko family, I do not have words that are adequate to express my shame and sorrow for causing the death of Officer Jason Gresko," said Leland. "All I can say is that I am truly sorry. Every day I think about him, I think about what I did. His life and death will be with me forever."
Leland was also punished with a $1,000 fine, a 10-year driver's license suspension, $2,991 in fees and probation for three years following his release.