The second man involved in the street racing incident that led to the death of Kodiak teen Austin Van Long was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday, bringing closure to a case that rocked Kodiak.
Markryan Portillo, 22, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, a class B felony, and third-degree assault, a class C felony, in January. He was formally sentenced and taken into custody Monday afternoon.
The crimes stem from a street race that took place in October 2011. Portillo and William Mecham were racing next to each other on the Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge when a truck tried to cross the bridge in the opposite direction. Mecham swerved his vehicle to miss the truck and struck the vehicle Portillo was driving. Long was a passenger in Portillo’s vehicle.
Kodiak district attorney Steve Wallace went over the facts of what happened that night and made his closing comments.
“You could not recreate this under a variety of circumstances,” Wallace said. “This is a tragedy all the way across.”
Portillo’s attorney, Craig Howard, talked about Portillo’s character and explained what Portillo went through after the incident.
“His whole life has been irreparably altered,” Howard said. “He wasn’t supposed to be driving that night. … There are so many what-ifs in this case it’s unbelievable. … He survived, and it’s going to be a tough go when he gets out.”
Superior court judge Steve Cole gave Portillo a chance to comment, and Portillo went on the record with one sentence.
“I just want to say I’m sorry,” he said.
Cole commented on how touched he had been with Portillo’s serious attitude at each court appearance and explained the purpose behind the sentence.
“It certainly drives home the message to really value life because it could go so fast, and I cannot imagine what Austin’s father must have gone through,” Cole said. “No parent should have to bury their child.”
Portillo received 10 years in jail with five suspended and a $20,000 fine for criminally negligent homicide. He was sentenced to lesser penalties for the assault conviction, which will be served concurrently. He will also receive credit for time served.
Portillo will be on probation for seven years after he is released, and will have his license revoked for three years. Portillo, who came to the United States when he was 3 years old and is not a citizen, could be deported to the Philippines, but that will depend on immigration laws at the time of his release, Cole said.
“This is a sad case all the way around, one of the saddest cases we’ve had that I’ve seen in a while,” Cole said.
Portillo originally faced charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault, but those were reduced in a plea deal. The murder charge carried a 99-year maximum sentence, and the assault charge carried a maximum 20-year sentence.
Mecham was already sentenced, and is serving five years for his role in the incident. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and criminally negligent homicide in October.
The Long family was not present during Monday’s court proceeding. Members of Portillo’s family were present to watch him be taken into custody.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.