MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An unlicensed driver was sentenced Thursday to nearly three years in prison for leading police on a chase that ended with the man plowing into a Minneapolis playground and injuring three young siblings.
Kabaar Powell Jr., 27, of Richfield, was sentenced after pleading guilty last month to two counts of fleeing an officer.
The children's parents, Kyle and Nicolle Peltier, told Powell their lives will never be the same.
Kyle Peltier was at the playground with their seven children on the day of the June 11 crash.
"I watched helplessly as my children were run over," Kyle Peltier said. He said his older children no longer want to go the playground.
"We have a rough life now," he said.
Powell declined to speak, the Star Tribune reported . He agreed to accept a longer sentence than usual, but is expected to serve less than two years before being released. He would have received probation under regular guidelines.
State troopers tried to stop Powell for speeding on Interstate 94, but authorities say he tried to flee. He got off the highway, speeding through 22 stop signs and tearing through tennis courts before smashing into the playground near Jenny Lind Elementary School on the city's north side, hitting young Kayden, Konnor and Lillianna Peltier.
The most seriously injured child, 2-year-old Kayden Peltier, left the hospital last week. He was nearly paralyzed but can now walk with assistance. His mother said he has a traumatic brain injury. Four-year-old Lillianna Peltier suffered multiple abrasions as well as bleeding on the brain. Three-year-old Konnor Peltier also was hit but suffered less serious injuries.
Nicolle Peltier said of the two children seriously injured, "their ultimate goal in life is to learn how to play and be normal."
Powell hasn't had a valid driver's license since 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
This version of the story corrects Powell's age to 27 instead of 22.