Father of victim says wheels of justice turn too slowly in Harris County court

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A drunk driving victim's father says justice took too long after his son's death. (KTRK)

Eric Grbic mourns the loss of his son Chase every day.

"Chase was someone that loved people, helped people," Grbic told Eyewitness News. "I loved him. When he died I got a life sentence."

Chase Grbic was 24 years old when his car slammed into a truck whose driver had run a red light in northwest Harris County.

That driver was Jose Garcia, who went before a judge Friday and admitted his guilt. He received 10 years of probation, and he'll spend the first 120 days of it in jail. After that, he loses his driver's license and cannot drink alcohol for the remainder of the probation.

"If he messes up during the 10-year period the judge can send him for up to 10 years in prison for this crime," said prosecutor Chris McKinney with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

Gribic's father took the stand and told Garcia he hated him for killing his only son. But he also forgave him and didn't want to serve time that would take him away from his own children.

"He has young kids," said Grbic. "He didn't do it on purpose. It would be a travesty to have him miss his kids."

What Grbic is having a hard time forgiving, though, is that it took four years for a resolution. He worked with three prosecutors and says the wheels of justice turn too slowly in Judge Maria Jackson's court. He'd like to see laws changed that limit the amount of time cases can work through the system without adjudication.

"I don't think you should have to wait more than two years. I think there should be some type of mandate that comes into play," said Grbic. "The court isn't doing its job."

Eyewitness News spoke with Judge Jackson in her courtroom about Grbic's concerns. She said it surprises her and explained she handles 60 cases every day. She added that, while it is her court, the length of cases -- especially ones involving death -- are often determined by the prosecution and defense and their requests for delays.

Grbic and his family maintain four years is too long for justice, though they are thankful it is finally done.

"It's never going to go away but this part of it will go away," said Chase Grbic's sister, Alexa. "We can kind of move on."

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newstraffic fatalitiessentencingHarris CountyHouston
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