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Fischer sentenced to 30 years in prison

Ronald Fischer walks out of Charles Mix County Court following his sentencing on Monday evening in Lake Andes. (Matt Gade/Republic)2 / 2

LAKE ANDES — A Lake Andes man convicted of killing two U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials in 2013 was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison.

Ronald Fischer Jr., 30, was convicted in February of two counts of vehicular homicide for the deaths of Maegan Spindler, 25, of Cazenovia, N.Y., and Dr. Rob Klumb, 46, of Pierre.

Fischer spoke briefly in court Tuesday before being sentenced. He told the families of Spindler and Klumb that he was sorry for what happened.

"I can't know what it is to feel what you feel, but I understand what you feel," Fischer said, addressing the families. "I hope you're able to forgive me, but if you can't, I understand."

Fischer will serve two consecutive, or one after the other, 15-year sentences -- one for each count of vehicular homicide. Judge Bruce Anderson also fined Fischer $3,000 for each count and $104 in court costs.

His first parole eligibility will be in nine years.

Anderson also handed down maximum penalties for three misdemeanor convictions — one year in county jail for first-offense driving under the influence, plus a $1,000 fine and $84 in court costs; 180 days in county jail for ingesting marijuana and $84 in court costs; and $84 in court costs for possession of marijuana.

Fischer must also reimburse the state for court-appointed attorney fees and pay more than $16,000 in restitution to the state victim fund.

Anderson also revoked Fischer's driving privileges for life.

"The defendant may petition the court on the 10th anniversary of his release from the penitentiary and the court will consider any reinstatement of driving privileges," Anderson said. "Only if he can prove a decade of sobriety and good conduct."

Spindler and Klumb were U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees who were doing research at the Missouri River on July 8, 2013, when Fischer failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of U.S. Highway 18 and S.D. Highway 46. Fischer's vehicle entered the Dakota Inn hotel parking lot in Pickstown traveling at least 52 mph and struck Spindler and Klumb, who suffered fatal injuries in the crash.

Fischer suffered serious life-threatening injuries in the crash, was taken to Wagner Community Hospital and later life flighted to Sioux Falls.