Crime

N.Y. Father Gets Jail Time For His Part In Teens' Deaths

| by Jared Keever

A New York man will serve up to 16 years in prison for allowing his 15-year-old daughter to drive his SUV the day she was involved in a fatal car accident that killed three of her friends. 

Wayne County Judge Raymond Hamill sentenced Michael Ware, 54, Thursday to six and a half to 16 years in prison for his part in the crash that killed three Council Rock High School South boys last year, The Morning Call reports. 

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Ware, of Scarsdale, pleaded guilty in July to three counts of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of reckless endangerment, WNEP reported. 

Last summer’s wreck killed his daughter Julia’s passengers, Shamus Digney, Cullen Keffer and Ryan Lesher, all 15. Three other passengers were also injured when the Chevrolet Suburban overturned in a curve on a Paupack Township road. 

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Ware had initially told police his daughter took the vehicle without his permission, according to The Morning Call.

He admitted in July, when he pleaded guilty to charges, that he had allowed her to take the vehicle. 

In April, Julia admitted to driving without a license and was sentenced to probation until she is 21. She was also sentenced to community service, ordered to write apology letters to the families of her passengers, and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution, WNEP reported.

During her father’s sentencing Thursday, the judge pointed out that Ware had initially lied to investigators about giving permission to his daughter. It took nearly 60 days for Ware to admit that Julia had not taken the vehicle without permission. This delay suggested that he was willing to let his daughter take the full blame for the accident, Hamill said, according to USA Today.

“Not once did you say, ‘I'm sorry’ [until sentencing],” the judge said during 20 minutes of remarks. “Not once did you say, ‘I'm responsible.’

“ ... Your failure to be a father and say ‘No’ caused these tragic deaths."

Family members of the victims who spoke at the sentencing hearing seemed to echo the judge’s sentiments. 

“Your irresponsible parenting caused the deaths of three amazing boys,” Ryan Lesher's mother, Lisa Lesher, said. “Your desire to be the cool dad devastated the entire community.”

“I cannot begin to say how sorry I am,” Ware told the court in a brief statement prior to sentencing. “Neither I nor my daughter meant any harm to anyone that day. May those boys rest in peace.”

Ware’s attorney, Robert Reno, called the sentence “ridiculous,” according to The Morning Call, and said he and his client plan to appeal. 

Sources: The Morning Call, WNEP News, USA Today 

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