A man guilty of killing a Penn Valley mother and daughter in a 2012 boating collision on Englebright Lake was sentenced to 21 years in state prison Friday.
Jeffrey J. Sandow was drunk when he drove his boat recklessly at a high rate of speed on Sept. 15, 2012. When his boat collided with another, it was launched 10 feet in the air and landed on top of the Peterlin family. Sophie Peterlin, 12, and her mother, Cynthia, 42, were killed. Paul Peterlin suffered multiple broken bones.
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Cook argued in Yuba County Superior Court that the convicted felon may want to hug his wife, take his son to Disneyland and walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. But Peterlin, who lost his wife and daughter will never have the opportunity to do those things because Sandow’s intentional actions took their lives, Cook said.
Sandow chose to drink alcohol, he chose to drive the boat, he chose to drive in the wrong direction on a directional lake, and he chose to put the public in danger, Cook said.
Sandow admitted to his actions when he signed a negotiated plea July 18 and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter involving a vessel and felony boating while under the influence. He admitted to a sentence enhancement for causing great bodily harm to Paul Peterlin.
Judge Julia Scrogin had discretion in the sentence she chose to impose.
Focusing on the actions of Sandow after the collision, Scrogin said she searched for signs of Sandow acting with remorse, and found none.
Reading transcripts from phone calls he made from jail, he never expressed regret for pain suffered by the Peterlins, according to court documents.
Directly after the collision he didn’t attempt to help the victims or see if they were OK.
Instead, Scrogin said, he sat on the shore holding the rope to his boat, asking firefighters if they were cops.
Sandow had no prior criminal history, has a family, held a job and is educated. Those characteristics led Scrogin to expect different behavior from the criminal, she said.
Defense Attorney Rick Worrell called Sandow’s therapist to the stand. Christine Taylor-Brown said Sandow is unable to cognitively process the trauma and he is in survival mode. He is scared, she said, and he hasn’t been properly medicated while in jail.
Family members of both the defendant and the victims’ family filled the courtroom. Victims provided emotional testimony, including Paul and Cynthia Peterlin’s son who spoke of the pain he and his family have suffered and detailed the moments before he found out his mother and only sister were dead.
Scrogin ordered Sandow to pay $85,800 restitution to Paul Peterlin and $3,000 restitution to Penn Valley Fire Protection.
Sandow waived his right to appeal the decision.
Monica Vaughan is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.