Parents of victim ask for leniency in DUI case

Mike and Rainy Lofald’s son, Joseph, was killed in April 2011 after a shift at the Minntac plant in Mountain Iron when the car in which he was riding went into the ditch. His colleague, James Duane Voltzke, was driving. And he was under the influence.

Yesterday, Voltzke was in a courtroom in Duluth, where he was to be sentenced in the criminal vehicular homicide case, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggested a nine-year prison sentence would be the appropriate punishment.

“When we were asked what outcome we wanted to see from the prosecution, we came back to the question: What would Joe want?” Rainy Lofald said. “Joe would’ve wanted you to live your life as meaningful as possible.

Voltzke won’t be going to prison.

At the request of the family and attorneys, 6th Judicial District Judge Theresa Neo stayed a nine-year prison sentence, instead placing Voltzke on five years of probation.

Voltzke, 39, of Superior also will be required to perform eight hours of community service work every week for the next two years.

“Mr. Voltzke, there is one thing you can do,” Neo said. “You can honor Joe’s life by living your life the best way you can. You can honor his family and give back to the community. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can make a difference in the present.”

“It’s so sad that one careless decision with no malicious intent behind it can take a life away from this world,” the prosecutor said. “The Lofalds have handled this with strength and compassion, and they’ve requested that another life not be ruined.”

After the hearing, the Lofalds hugged Voltzke.

  • Jack

    Brilliant. As a parent, I hope I could do the same thing if faced with same situation but not sure I could.

    If only we could all contribute something positive and meaningful to life, this world would be vastly improved.