LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County man was sentenced Friday to 21 years to life in state prison for causing a drunk driving accident that killed a 14-year-old girl.
Prior to his sentencing, Austin Jeffrey Farley of Irvine asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin for leniency after being convicted of second-degree murder and drunk driving in connection with the death of 14-year-old Ashton Sweet.
“I realize that I made a few poor decisions in my past. Drinking and driving being my worst. That does not make me a bad person. I just simply made a mistake,” he said.
The 28-year-old Farley’s blood-alcohol level was 2 1/2 times the legal limit when he slammed his pickup truck into a car carrying a father and three teenage girls.
Sweet died of a traumatic brain injury.
“I miss Ashton every day. It never goes away,” Sweet’s mother, Elizabeth, said.
She explained that losing her daughter has been more than a parent’s worst nightmare. With a nightmare, she said, you wake up. Her nightmare, however, will never end, she said.
“On one of our visits to the site of the crash, I found myself looking at the point-of-impact marks on the pavement. And I imagined that if I stepped into traffic at that very spot where the impact had happened, that somehow I could see her again,” she explained.
“That if I could die in the same exact place, we would be together somehow,” she said.
Sweet asked the judge to issue a sentence that would keep Farley off the road. She also asked him to order Farley to keep a photo of her daughter inside his prison cell.
Brandlin said he didn’t have the authority to order Farley to post her daughter’s photo. But he threw the book at Farley, issuing the most severe sentence possible.
Farley will have to serve 18 years behind bars before he can ask the parole board to be released.
“I’m happy it’s over. I really am,” Sweet said. “I think justice was served as much as the courts can give you justice for something like this.”
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