As he sent a Brooklyn man to prison Thursday, a Suffolk County judge pointedly rejected the idea that killing a Holbrook woman while fleeing sheriff's deputies two years ago could be an "accident."
State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho sentenced Cordell Tucker, 26, to the maximum -- 71/3 to 22 years in prison -- for second-degree manslaughter, third-degree grand larceny, second-degree assault and other crimes.
The crash that killed the victim, the judge said, was no "split-second lack of judgment," and thus was no accident.
"This was a protracted, prolonged, intentional act," Camacho said, noting the chase covered 26 miles before it ended with Gail Sacher's death at the Sunrise Highway service road and Lincoln Avenue in Bohemia. "This was an outrageous course of conduct, in which you ignored the safety of others for your own petty acts."
Those acts on June 27, 2011, started at the True Religion store at the Tanger Outlets Mall in Riverhead, where Tucker and two friends swiped 41 pairs of jeans worth almost $6,000.
After a sheriff's deputy pulled their Lincoln Town Car over on the Long Island Expressway, Tucker took off after stopping briefly, leading deputies on a chase down Route 112 -- sometimes on the wrong side of the road and on sidewalks -- and onto Sunrise Highway.
Finally, the car blew through a red light and broadsided a Subaru, killing Sacher, 62, and seriously injuring her husband, Alan.
On Thursday, Alan Sacher said even the maximum sentence will "never outweigh the punishment served by my children, my grandchildren and myself, every day.
"This was a senseless crime that should never have happened, but did."
Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe noted that Tucker's "entire life has been spent stealing," and that in addition to the 41 pairs of jeans, he also "stole a grandmother that day. He stole a mother. He stole a wife."
In a wavering voice, Tucker apologized to the Sacher family. "I'm sorry for everything I caused," he said. "It wasn't intentional."
His attorney, Michael Gajdos of Nesconset, agreed. "It was a spontaneous act and it snowballed, and a tragedy ensued," he said.