A judge sentenced a former state highway patrolman to 25 years to life in prison for strangling a motorist and throwing her body off a 65-foot-high bridge while on duty.

In handing Craid Peyer, 38, the maximum sentence Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Richard Huffman said the former patrolman violated society's trust but added the California Highway Patrol "bears some blame for this tragedy."Huffman noted that the agency received a complaint about a month before the Dec. 27, 1986, death of Cara Knott, 20, that could have tipped them off to Peyer's habit of pulling young women over at a dark, isolated Interstate 15 exit ramp.

"Whether or not Mr. Peyer would have remained a highway patrolman after that is another issue. But what is true is that Cara Knott would be alive and Peyer would not be on his way to state prison," the judge said.