MILFORD — Robert Kryzkij will spend 12 years in prison for killing Seymour resident Philip Hunt in a 2017 drunk driving crash.

But as Judge Peter Brown said at the end of an emotional sentencing hearing Thursday, “there is no sentence that can be imposed that’s going to fix anything here.”

“You can’t fix a broken heart with a sentence,” the judge said.

Kryzkij, 47, pleaded guilty July 25 to first-degree manslaughter, engaging police in pursuit and admitted violating two prior probationary terms. A plea deal called for a 20-year prison term to be suspended after he serves 12 years.

Kryzkij rear-ended another vehicle on Route 34 in Orange Nov. 9, 2017, and drove from the scene of the crash before police tried to pull him over on Dogwood Road.

He side-swiped another vehicle before eventually making his way to Meloy Road in West Haven, where he drove into the opposite lane head-on into Hunt, who was on a trip to pick up tickets to a holiday event for himself and his wife.

At the time of the collision, Kryzkij was going 82 mph — and had a blood alcohol level more than double the legal limit. Cops found his minivan littered with empty and full miniature bottles of Fireball whisky.

It was “beyond reckless” conduct — made worse by the fact that Kryzkij had a record including two drunken driving convictions, the last a mere 50 days before the fatal crash, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Howard Stein said.

“He is not a man who was unaware of the fact that he had a problem,” Stein said.

In court Thursday, Hunt’s widow, mother and two brothers spoke of the loss they’ve felt since Hunt’s death.

His wife, Carole, told the judge that Hunt planned to retire early when he turned 56 from a post office job he had worked for nearly 30 years. Instead, he didn’t get to see his 55th birthday.

“He took the life of a good man, a hard-working man, a man who made the world a better place,” she said of Kryzkij. “There is no way to explain the grief inside me. I just pray that no one else has to experience it.”

A brother, Jim Hunt, noted that Kryzkij will probably return to his own family after serving his prison sentence.

“My brother will never get the opportunity to do that,” he said. “He’ll never be my big brother again.”

He said he hoped the case would serve as an example to authorities to punish repeat drunk driving offenders more harshly.

Everyone can make a mistake, he said, “but we keep letting it happen over and over again. It has to stop.”

“May God have mercy on you, because I don’t,” he said.

Kryzkij’s lawyer, Public Defender Susan Brown, said nothing she or her client could say could minimize or change the horror of what he did.

But since his arrest, she said, “he has done everything possible to move this case along, not to cause undue delay, and get this case finished.”

“While that does not make anything better for the family, he was doing his best to not make things worse,” she said.

Kryzkij said he now understands the impact of the “horrible choice” he made and the anger of Hunt’s family.

“Whether they want my apology or not, I want them to understand that my heart’s broken, my life’s broken, and if I could change it I would,” he said.

The judge noted Kryzkij’s criminal history included priors for assault, violating probation and drug-related offenses, in addition to his two prior drunk driving convictions.

He also referenced the testimony from Hunt’s relatives Thursday and letters submitted by others prior to the sentencing.

“Their statements convey the pain, grief and anguish that your actions have caused so many people and irrevocably impacted so many lives,” Brown said.

When Kryzkij gets out of prison he’ll be on probation for five years, during which he’ll have eight years of suspended prison time hanging over his head if he’s arrested again.

While on probation, the judge prohibited Kryzkij from having any contact with Hunt’s family.

He also ordered him to undergo substance abuse treatment and banned him from driving any vehicle that isn’t fitted with a breathalyzer device.