A man who was driving a truck that hit a car, killing three people from Cedar Rapids in August of last year, was sentenced Thursday to 75 years in prison. Authorities said 40-year-old Raul Salazar was driving near Keystone when he blew through a stop sign and hit a car traveling on Highway 30.
All three people in the car were killed; 22-year-old Valerie Schneiders, her boyfriend 24-year-old Jason Bessert, and his 3-year-old daughter Hailey Bessert. Benton County Sheriff’s deputies said Salazar was driving drunk and after the collision, he and a passenger were seen throwing beer bottles from the truck into a nearby cornfield in an effort to conceal evidence.
In September, Salazar agreed to a plea deal that dropped charges of OWI and preventing apprehension. On Thursday, a judge ordered Salazar to serve 25 years in prison for each of three counts of vehicular homicide, to be served consecutively.