The following is a story written and reported by Eric Grossarth of East Idaho News:
IDAHO FALLS — Marci Allen hopes her son, Peyton Allen, will be remembered as a fun kid who loved to serve others.
On June 19, 2018, Peyton was hit and killed by the driver of an SUV while riding his motorcycle to work on Sunnyside Road in Idaho Falls. The man behind the wheel, 42-year-old Kevin Scott Spaulding, was sentenced Tuesday for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
Magistrate Judge Stephen Clark ordered Spaulding to serve the maximum sentence of one year in jail. Clark suspended eight months of the sentence, meaning Spaulding will serve 120 days before being released on probation for two years.
Moments after the hearing ended, Marci Allen approached Spaulding and asked to speak with him. They sat together in the courtroom for several minutes and spoke about Peyton.
“I had to connect with him,” Allen told EastIdahoNews.com. “I at least had to try … I wanted to end things with at least a connection.”
Three months ago, Spaulding pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter as part of a plea agreement. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss two unrelated felony burglary charges he received in March. Spaulding will plead guilty to a felony grand theft charge related to those burglaries and is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 30.
“I’m just extremely sorry for the family’s loss,” Spaulding told EastIdahoNews.com as he left the courtroom.
Idaho Falls prosecutor Jeff Thomason said the nature of the crime is an “insult” to Peyton’s family and mentioned that it’s ironic Spaulding will spend more time behind bars for taking someone’s items than for taking someone’s life.
“In our office, these are the most difficult cases we prosecute,” Thomason said. He recommended Spaulding serve the maximum sentence of one year.
Spaulding’s defense attorney, Justin Oleson, said regardless of the outcome, it can’t heal wounds or fill the void left in Peyton’s family. Oleson asked Judge Clark to sentence Spaulding to probation rather than jail time.
When asked if he wanted to make a statement, Spaulding briefly spoke and apologized for his actions.
Afterward, Marci Allen said the sentencing will help bring closure to her family.
“I’m ok with it. I’m at peace with it. I want him to make good changes and be a better person and be a good member of our community,” Allen said. “I hope that between this and whatever comes from his felonies help him do that.”
Peyton wrestled, ran cross country and was an Eagle scout. He was close with his brother and sisters, who attended the hearing.
“Obviously there’s nothing that’s going to completely fill that void there is now,” Tristan Allen, Peyton’s brother, said. “But it’s always nice to know that the person who killed my brother … is not on the streets and is getting consequences and getting better for what he did.”
Peyton’s sister, Torie Allen, added, “I wish he had waited the two seconds and Peyton would still be alive. I wish there could be more consequence than there is.”
Marci Allen hopes to follow her son’s example of positivity and his ability to move forward when others say or do something hurtful. She will always remember his laugh and how he was “kind of a teddy bear at heart.”
Spaulding will report to jail on Friday. He was also ordered to pay court fines and restitution to the Allen family. The sentence could be impacted by his felony crimes, which could carry a more severe punishment.
Judge Clark ordered Spaulding’s driver’s license be suspended for two years with restrictions in place once reinstated.
“I know wherever Peyton is, he is looking down on us, including Mr. Spaulding,” Clark said at the end of the hearing.