Bar owner sentenced in drunken driving death of Melville couple

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MINEOLA -

A bar owner who drove drunk and fatally struck a Melville couple last April has been sentenced to prison.

John Hartwig, 64, was sentenced Monday to 3 1/2 to 10 1/2 years in prison.  He pleaded guilty to driving drunk and vehicular manslaughter. 

According to prosecutors, Hartwig admitted to drinking 10 beers at McQuades, the Lynbrook bar he owns, before getting behind the wheel.

Prosecutors say he was drunk when he hit and killed Melvyn and Barbara Glickman, both 77.

The tragic chain of events started when the Glickmans met with relatives at Smokin' Al's in Massapequa Park for dinner. After leaving the restaurant, the Glickmans started crossing Merrick Road, and that's when officials say Hartwig struck the couple with his Ford Explorer. 

Police say Hartwig's blood alcohol content was .13 at the time of the crash, well above the legal limit.

News 12 spoke to the victims' daughter, Andrea Rothbort, shortly after the sentencing.  She says Hartwig's reckless actions changed her family's lives forever, and that the sentence was too lenient.

"Two people's lives were taken because of an act of reckless selfishness and stupidity, and he goes to jail for such a short time. He should be in jail for the rest of his life," says Rothbort.

Hartwig read a written statement inside the courtroom apologizing for his actions.  He will be eligible for parole in 3 1/2 years.

Relatives of the victims say they plan to attend every hearing to make sure he stays behind bars as long as possible.

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