Teen gets probation, community service in death of 21-year-old f - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Teen gets probation, community service in death of 21-year-old friend


GERMANTOWN, N.Y. -- It was an emotional day in a Columbia County courtroom Friday during the sentencing of 19-year-old Thomas Griffin.

Griffin pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter after the car he was driving New Years Eve crashed into a pole, killing his passenger 21-year-old Max Kelly of Germantown.

"The magnitude of our loss is something nobody else can realize," said Max's mother, Jodie Rae Wische.

Unable to hold back her emotion, she described to the judge what it has been like dealing with the death of her son.

A passenger in Griffin's car, Kelly died after the car crashed on Route 9 on New Years Eve.

Police say Griffin was driving drunk when it happened.

"I told Max that maybe he shouldn't hang with Thomas as much and he said 'Dad he's my best buddy and he's a good kid,'" said Max's father, John Michael Kelly.

His parents asked the judge not to sentence Griffin to any jail time.

"But we have an opportunity here to make him an upstanding citizen and I don't believe incarceration will help to enable that," he said.

"If Thomas is sitting somewhere it will be a hardship on me because I need to be connected to that kid today. That little boy was my life and this kid can not step in his place because no one will ever replace that but I need the son companionship."

The judge sentenced Griffin to 5 years probation and community service after he pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter.

Before the judge made that decision, Thomas Griffin had his chance to address the court.

"I am always here for you and willing to do whatever I can and I'm am going to honor Max's life in every positive way possible. I miss him, love him and he lives in my heart forever," said Griffin.

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