A former Miami Beach police officer convicted of striking and seriously injuring two people while joy-riding with a woman on the beach using a police all-terrain vehicle was sentenced to 18 months in prison Thursday.
Former officer Derick Kuilan was convicted last month of reckless driving but acquitted of driving under the influence.
At Thursday's sentencing, Kuilan addressed the judge, saying he's not the same man who was portrayed in the media.
"I am not an animal, I have feelings," Kuilan said. "I'm not a reckless fool."
His wife, Veronica Kuilan said the case had left a strain on the family and pleaded for mercy in the sentencing.
"Nothing we say or do can give the victims back what they lost," Veronica said. "We can only ask for forgiveness and we're truly sorry. Your honor please have mercy on my family."
Prosecutors said Kuilan was legally drunk while on duty in 2011 when he met a group of Pennsylvania women celebrating a bachelorette party at the Clevelander Hotel. Kuilan invited one woman, Adalee Martin, to take the beach ATV ride.
A man and a woman walking on the beach to see the sunrise were injured. Evidence showed that Kuilan had a blood-alcohol level above Florida's 0.08 legal limit. But the defense showed a second blood test that put Kulian's alcohol level below the limit, some five hours after the crash.
The woman who was struck by the ATV, Kitzie Nicanor, also spoke at Thursday's sentencing, saying she's still affected by the crash.
"I continue to have pain and problems. I am a 13 year old in a 32 year old's body," she said.
Kuilan, who did not testify, had faced five years in prison at Thursday's hearing for the reckless driving with serious bodily injury charge.
In addition to his jail time, Kulian will also have to pay more than $5 million in restitution to the victims. He will also be on probation and ordered to do community service and his drivers license will be suspended for three years.