Lora Hunt will spend her nights in jail for the next year and half for killing a woman she struck with her car while doing her nails.
The loved ones who asked the court for mercy on Thursday said the Morris, Ill., woman will be punishing herself for a lot longer.
“Every day she relives that day. She cries sometimes two, three or four times a day,” said her husband of 33 years, Mark, who described for the judge how his once-joyful wife has been depressed and at times suicidal since the May 2, 2009, crash near Lake Zurich that killed Anita Zaffke, 56.
Whatever the toll on Hunt, however, Zaffke’s family testified that it pales in comparison to what she took from them.
“I live every day thinking about how Anita had her life taken away from us due to someone’s vanity and recklessness,” Zaffke’s husband Greg told the judge during a 3 1/2- hour sentencing hearing, during which Hunt could be heard sobbing. “I miss Anita with everything in my soul.”
In his victim-impact statement, Zaffke’s son, Greg Zaffke II, described how a special place of honor was reserved for his mother at his July 16 wedding.
“My mom was not there to help us plan and organize it. She wasn’t there to share in the joy and excitement. That day, no tears of happiness would fall on my shoulder as she hugged me and my wife, Heidi,” he said. “Lora Hunt took that time away from my mom and our family.”
According to the sentence imposed by Judge Fred Foreman, Hunt, 49, will spend her nights in jail but will be allowed to leave during the day for work, counseling and community service. Foreman’s sentence includes 240 hours of community service and 30 months of probation.
“If we can get the message out about this tragedy, maybe something positive can come out of this terrible tragedy,” Foreman said.
A jury found Hunt guilty on May 6 of causing the Lake Zurich woman’s death when Hunt’s car rear-ended Zaffke’s motorcycle when she was stopped at a red light. During the trial, Hunt said she’d been trying to make herself look presentable for a dinner date with her daughter but had applied only a couple of strokes of nail polish before putting the bottle down. She said she was watching the stoplight turn red when she slammed into the motorcycle.
Though Hunt could have received up to five years in prison, Greg Zaffke II said he felt the judge was “cognizant that a statement had to be made.”
Still, prosecutor Mike Mermel sought the maximum sentence.