Friends of victim react to drunk driving guilty plea - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Friends of victim react to drunk driving guilty plea

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BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. - In Saratoga County Court Wednesday, 22-year-old Gavin Staulters admitted to being intoxicated when he struck and killed 14-year-old Kari Liedel on July 7th.

Police say Staulters was driving on a straightaway on West Milton Road in the town of Milton, when he crossed onto the side of the right shoulder where Liedel and her friend were standing.

Staulters struck Liedel and narrowly missed her friend.

"It kills me. It's very sad," says Sarah Rivers. "It shouldn't have happened to anyone, especially to her."

Rivers' daughter Samantha was best friends with Liedel. Rivers says the pain of losing Kari is still very real. "There is not a day that goes by that I do not light a candle for that little girl," she says.

"She loved life, she lived it to the fullest," adds Rivers' daughter, Samantha Hika.

Staulters pleaded guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter and faces up to seven years in prison when he is sentence on January 30th.

Rivers and her daughter say that is not enough.

"Him being put in jail is not bringing Kari back and it's not stopping him from what he did," says Hika. "She's still not here. It gives us justice that he is going to jail, but to me, it's not long enough."

Sentencing will be either an agreed sentence of two to six years in state prison or an option where sentencing will be entirely up to the judge. If that is the option, Staulters faces up to seven years in state prison.

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