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Driver who ran over 8-year-old girl gets just 150 days in jail

A Longmont, Colorado, man was sentenced to just 150 days in jail after authorities said he ran over and killed an 8-year-old girl as she rode her bike home from school.

Kyle Couch, 21, received 60 days for possessing a fake identification and 90 days for careless driving in connection to the May 2016 death of 8-year-old Peyton Knowlton.

“There is nothing I can do in imposing this sentence that will make this better,” Chief Boulder District Judge Maria Berkenkotter said in court Tuesday, according to the Times-Call. “I don’t have the power to bring Peyton back, though if I did, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

Police said Couch fatally struck the young girl as she was riding her bike home after her last day of second grade. She had ridden that same path to and from school for three years.

Peyton was in a crosswalk when she was hit by Couch’s Ford F-250 pickup truck – her stepfather was not far behind her. Couch told police he first thought he had only hit the curb until he saw the stepfather waving at him, the Times-Call reported.

During the initial investigation, authorities had reportedly said that Couch was high on marijuana at the time of the crash. He was originally facing nine charges, including vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. Those charges, however, were dropped last month as prosecutors felt they couldn’t be proven.

At his sentencing, Couch issued an apology to the girl’s family. “From the bottom of my heart, I’m really truly sorry,” he said, according to the Times-Call.

Peyton would have turned 9 years old later this month. “All I’m going to have is some flowers to take to her grave and mourn with thoughts of what might’ve been,” her mother said, adding that she is not sure what to make of a broken court system that is meant to bring justice. “The only thing I do know is that the day that Peyton died, part of me died too,” she said.

After serving his jail sentence, Couch will complete 150 hours of community service and two years of probation.

[Feature Photo: Family Handout/Longmont PD]