An emotional hearing unfolded at the Criminal Justice Center yesterday as William Foster pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for running a red light and plowing into a police cruiser in 2008, killing Sgt. Timothy Simpson.

“If I could give my life up for that man’s life, I would,” Foster, 44, said as he wiped tears from his eyes. “He was a giver to the community. I am a taker.”

The defense argued for leniency, saying that the crash was not a direct, intentional assault on a uniformed officer.

Simpson’s family, many wearing Sgt. Simpson memorial jackets, sat flanked by 25-30 police officers.

“I never thought my worst nightmare would come true,” Simpson’s widow said in a statement read by a family friend.

 

Judge Jeffrey Minehart, taking into consideration Foster’s 30 criminal convictions and lack of a drivers’ license at the time of the crash, sentenced Foster to 19-40 years in a state correctional facility with a consecutive sentence of 7-15 years for previous offenses committed in Bucks County.

“Whether it’s through the actions of this defendant — driving like a maniac through the streets of Philadelphia — or by the action of a felon who is armed, police never know when death is going to come,” he said.

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