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Driver loses friend in crash, now sentenced to jail

An accident in 2010 took the life of a 22-year-old man from Philadelphia. His best friend since childhood was driving at the time of the car crash. According to reports, he will face jail time for the death of his close friend.

The driver, a 21-year-old man from Allentown, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another person and homicide by vehicle.

His guilty plea came last month, despite desperate attempts made by the family of the victim. According to the aunt of the victim, the 21-year-old has suffered enough and she said that she is sure that her nephew would not want to see his best friend behind bars for an accident that neither of them could have known would end a life.

The authorities have found that the 21-year-old was neither high nor drunk at the time of the crash. According to reports, the vehicle was traveling at 54 mph in a 35 mph speed zone. The driver lost control of his vehicle on Basin Street, which directed the car toward an oncoming van. The collision left both the 21-year-old and his passenger trapped until they were extricated by emergency responders.

Both were taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, where the 22-year-old was pronounced dead. The 21-year-old slipped into a coma after the crash and awoke to discover that his friend was dead. Yet no one told him directly -- he found out through the Internet.

According to the aunt, the driver was speeding so that his friend could get to the train station in time for his return trip to Philadelphia.

Despite the pleas from the victim's family and a recommendation of house arrest by the probation department, the presiding judge sentenced the driver to a jail sentence of nine to 23 months. He will then be on probation for three years. The judge likely believes that people still need to be held accountable for their reckless actions, no matter how remorseful. Had he been obeying the speed limit, he likely would have avoided the accident.

Source: The Morning Call, "Despite pleas of mercy from victim's family, driver in fatal crash gets jail time," Kevin Amerman, Mar. 16, 2012

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Gregory R. Gifford
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