DOUGLAS COUNTY, Kan. — A Lawrence man was sentenced Wednesday for involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence and aggravated battery in a 2022 New Year’s Day crash that killed 20-year-old James Henderson Jr.
Adrian J. Martinez, 39, was sentenced to just over nine years in prison, a total of 109 months.
Martinez accepted a plea agreement in January and received 75 months for involuntary manslaughter and 34 months for aggravated battery.
On the night of the crash, Martinez was driving westbound on West 6th Street around midnight when he crossed the center line while going approximately 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
Martinez collided with a vehicle driven by Henderson, whose girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother were riding as passengers. They were seriously hurt, Henderson died from his injuries.
“He told his mom he would be home by midnight. They were heading home and it was just five minutes away from arriving home and they got hit,” cousin Marri Cardin told FOX4 after the crash.
“We’re never going to celebrate New Year’s again. It’s never going to be the same.”
Family remembered Henderson, who went by “JJ,” as a gentle giant who selflessly helped his family and always cared about others.
“As we heard at sentencing, countless lives have been negatively impacted by one terrible and completely avoidable decision,” District Attorney Suzanne Valdez said in a news release.
“Those who choose to drive drunk must be held accountable for the pain they cause.”
Upon release from prison, Martinez will serve 36 months post-release supervision.