The family and friends of a thirteen-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver can rest knowing the man who did it will go to jail. Gary Svecz of Pennsylvania was sentenced to six to eighteen years in prison today for hitting and killing teenaged Neil Pederson of Sylvan Beach. The court room was filled with Neil Pederson's grieving family and classmates--some of whom took the stand, asking the judge to make Gary Svecz pay for the life he ended. And Svecz wasn't silent, he faced Pederson's loved ones and asked for their forgiveness.
One night in May 13-year-old Neil Pederson went for a bike ride around Sylvan Beach. That the same day Gary Svecz, was also on the road, with a blood-alcohol-content four times the legal limit. Svecz's pickup truck hit the teen from behind, but Svecz kept on driving.
"I saw my brother lying by the side of the road, with blood stains on his shorts and blood matting down his hair and running down his face," said Neil's brother, Kyle.
Neil Pederson was thrown several feet from his bike, suffering massive injuries. It's a scene his mother will never forget.
"I had bruises and right here on my left arm I had finger nail scratches from the EMTs and all the people pushing on me I couldn't get close to him," said Neil's mother, Valerie.
Neil Pederson was taken to the hospital where he died. Meanwhile Svecz was pulled over and arrested a short distance from the scene. He plead guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter in October.
"sincerely to the family of Neil Pederson, I know what has happened in this tragic event has changed our lives forever, I grieve and pray for you and your whole family," said Gary Svecz. Svecz and his lawyers stressed that Svecz didn't wake up wanting to kill someone---it was an accident.
"Every person that's in yourposition says exactly those words, sometime somehow some way we have to get out the word that if you take this chance this is what can happen," said Judge Michael Dwyer.
Svecz was sentenced to a maximum of 18 years in jail, but he could released on parole after a minimum of six years.
"Future parole boards can keep Neil's friends and those friend's children and my nieces and nephews children safe from Gary Svecz in the future," said Valerie Pederson.
There was also mention of Svecz entering a long-term rehab program in jail for alcohol abuse.
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