TULSA, Oklahoma - A convicted car thief is on his way to prison for life, after he killed a man during a police chase last year.

Police say Jerry Newman stole a truck and was driving against traffic on Highway 75 when he hit and killed an innocent driver, 23-year-old William Bruckman.

Bruckman’s widow took the stand on Tuesday, where she read statements written by two of her children about what they lost.

The judge sentenced Newman to prison with a life sentence plus 53 years.

“I’m not this monster I get painted out to be,” said Newman.  “If I could give my life for him, I would.”

Bruckman was on his way to work in May of 2017 when the stolen utility truck crashed into his car.

“Nothing can ever bring William Bruckman back,” said prosecutor Julie Doss.  “However, what happened here, this defendant will never be out of prison.”

The man behind the wheel of the stolen truck was identified as Newman, who led police from Sapulpa and Tulsa on a 40-minute chase around Tulsa – even onto the grounds of the airport, where police rammed the truck they thought might hit a loaded aircraft, but Newman kept going.

Police say he eventually got on Highway 75, driving against traffic, until hitting Bruckman’s vehicle.

Newman’s attorney says police are to blame for not ending the chase before the fatal crash.  He says he plans to appeal the conviction.

“Jerry is a car thief.  He stole cars and occasionally the police would chase him, and he did it to get drugs,” said Brian Boeheim.  “He’s not a murderer in that sense.  This was an unfortunate accident.  Again, I don’t think all of the blame lays on the shoulders of Jerry.”

Newman had a long track record of crimes before the one that sent him to prison for good.

He was only out of prison three months when the crash happened, and now he’s on the way back.

Bruckman’s widow says she is working on forgiveness every day, but she’s also reminded that her 2-year-old daughter will never remember her father.