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Man gets 1 year for deadly drunk driving crash

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A man learned his fate today for killing someone he never met.

He had been looking at 25 years behind bars. But he will sit for a little less than a year,  and he will be allowed out on a frequent basis.

“His death impacted a lot of people,” said Linda Miller.

They were divorced at the time, but the loss of 58-year-old Allen Miller still brings out Linda Miller's emotions. The two had been married for 30 years.

“If anybody needed anything Allen was always there for friends and family,” she said in court.

He was a proud dad and grandpa who loved to hunt with his daughters.

“It has drastically changed their lives,” Miller commented in court.

When the volunteer firefighter and churchman had free time he liked to hop on his motorcycle. Last fall a nighttime ride would claim his life. He was cruising along County 4 near Larimore when 44-year-old Paul Lilja pulled in front of him as he tried to turn into a family member's home. Lilja said he had 4 beers, and didn't realize how close Miller was to him.

"There's been a terrible tragedy that has happened, between two families who didn't know each other,” said his lawyer Peter Welte.

Monday, Lilja cut a deal with prosecutors pleading guilty to negligent homicide. He will spend a year behind bars, but be allowed to leave jail to work. Lilja said he was too shy to apologize himself so he had his lawyer do it for him.

"He is terrible sorry, he will not forget this, he has been impacted by this in several ways and wishes he could turn back the clock but he cannot," explained Welte.

The judge accepted the deal.

“You yourself attempted CPR on the deceasedent, I see that you were cooperative,” said judge Lolita Romanick

But had a stern message for Lilja.

“Hopefully you learn a very hard and important less that you not drink and drive

The judge also ordered Lilja to spend 20 hours speaking to high school students about the dangers of drunk driving.

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