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Former Stanford student sentenced in deadly DUI crash

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Just before 4 a.m. on October 5, 2013, Zachary Katz drove the wrong way on Highway 101 near South San Francisco and crashed into a taxi cab, killing a Puerto Rican tourist and injuring two other people. (KGO-TV)

It was the early morning crash four years ago that left so many people stunned. Just before 4 a.m. on October 5, 2013, Zachary Katz drove the wrong way on Highway 101 near South San Francisco and crashed into a taxi cab, killing a Puerto Rican tourist and injuring two other people.

After a series of delays and appeals, Katz, who was drunk at the time of the accident, finally learned his fate Friday afternoon in a San Mateo County courtroom.

"My strongest feeling (about this) is relief for these victims," said Deputy District Attorney Vishal Jangla. "They can now move on from this even though this is going to affect them for their entire lives."

Once a promising student in the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the 28-year-old Katz was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months in state prison.

"We hoped for probation because of the unique circumstance of the young man, but I can certainly understand the judge going the other way," said Geoff Carr, Katz's defense attorney.

Katz was convicted by a jury last fall of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. During the trial, the New York native testified that he had been drinking in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood the night before the crash.

The defense argued that Katz's history of epilepsy may have contributed to his disorientation.

"He has a lot of minor psychiatric issues related to epilepsy that was undiagnosed throughout most of his life," says Carr.

The judge could've sentenced Katz to a maximum of 12 years in prison, but sensed that he was remorseful and opted for a lighter term.

Despite the leniency, some of Katz's family and friends could be heard screaming and yelling outside of the courtroom, expressing outrage over the sentence.

With good behavior, the district attorney's office says Katz will likely serve only half of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

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DUIdui crashsentencingcrimestudentscollege studentstanford universityStanford UniversityPalo AltoSan Francisco
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