Updated 08/03/2012 03:22 PM
Teen sentenced in crashed that killed 17-year-old passenger
A Ballston Spa teen has been sentenced to one and a third to four years behind bars for a crash that killed his 17-year-old passenger back in January. Beth Croughan has more from Saratoga County Court.
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BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- "I told him to keep his chin up and that I would be here for him if he needed to talk to me and that I know that he was sorry and that I was sorry," said Melody Scaia, 17-year-old Noelle Johnsen’s mother.
Those are the words Scaia said she spoke as she hugged the man responsible for her daughter's death. Scaia said she forgave 18-year-old Brian Vecchio after he was sentenced Friday in Saratoga County Court.
Earlier this year, the Ballston Spa teen pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
On January 7th, authorities said Vecchio lost control of his truck while trying to pass another car at almost 100 mph. Johnsen, his passenger, died as a result of her injuries.
"Heartache. For him, for my daughter. He had to pay for what he did and he will forever," Scaia said.
Vecchio will serve one and a third to four years in state prison. Before being sentenced, the teenager turned to Noelle's family, after accepting full responsibility for his actions. He told the court he wants to speak at schools on the dangers of reckless driving.
"He's very sorry, and his family is hurt as well. He said what he had to say, at least to the family," said Vecchio's attorney Joseph Hammer.
Scaia said she believed Vecchio was sincere as he spoke before Judge Jerry Scarano, and added that forgiveness is what her daughter would have wanted for her friend.
"She had a heart of gold. She wanted to be everybody's friend, and she was, and she was my angel," she said.
The judge denied youthful offender status for Vecchio, as requested by his attorney, and revoked his license.