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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Franklin Chavez was sentenced to seven years behind bars and another eight years of probation after a deadly wrong way wreck.
It was not what the victims’ family had hoped for but the DUI manslaughter charge was dropped because of police errors when drawing the 24-year-old suspect’s blood.
The state said Chavez was on I-95 going more than 75 miles per hour with his lights off, and in the wrong direction, in December 2015.
“He killed my daughter. He killed my dreams,” said Noel Criales, the victims’ father.
Criales’ daughter, 23-year-old Carmen Rosa Criales, died and his son Bryan was left wheelchair-bound. Family members were inconsolable in court and asked the judge for a maximum sentence.
The victims’ mother, Elisa Diaz, was also in the car and survived.
“My daughter was dying, I wanted to scream,” she said in Spanish. “I don’t know what happened to my children, it destroyed my life.”
Carmen was about to start medical school and was on her way to the airport in Ft. Lauderdale before the crash.
“He was driving the wrong way with his lights off,” said the victim’s aunt, Carmen O’Donnell. “There was no chance to do anything to save her life.”
David O’Donnell, their uncle, slammed Chavez for getting behind the wheel that night.
“You knew what you were doing,” he said. “So did the person you were texting who was at the party and you planned on getting drunk. That decision cost the family a horrible tragedy and you took the life of someone who was going to be a doctor.”
Chavez’s mother said her son never intended to harm anyone. The defendant took responsibility on the stand.
“I feel wholeheartedly shattered and I was totally irresponsible for my actions,” Franklin Chavez cried. “I’m incredibly sorry. I took the life of an angel and I feel so bad that Carmen is not here.”
After the verdict, his attorney continued to defend his client.
“Frankie is a good, good human being and he made a terrible, terrible mistake,” said Andrew Parks.
Judge Dennis Murphy called his actions foolish and reckless. But the Criales family had hoped he would punish Chavez with a stiffer sentence.
“I feel bad that I wasn’t there to save my daughter’s life. This killed me,” said Noel. “This man destroyed my daughter’s life. This man should spend the rest of his life in jail. I will die with this pain.”
Along with jail time and probation, Chavez will have to do 120 hours of community service and his license will be revoked for 10 years.