The driver of a pickup truck that slammed into a church bus in March 2017, killing 13 passengers, was sentenced to 55 years in prison on Friday.
Jack Dillon Young had smoked marijuana and misused a prescription antidepressant, prior to the head-on collision with the bus that was carrying choir members from the First Baptist Church in New Braunfels, Texas, MySanAntonio.com reported. The fatal accident happened about 75 miles west of San Antonio.
The 21-year-old’s defense attorney called for mercy from the judge and said Young’s prescription drug medications were not properly monitored by doctors, according to The Associated Press.
The church choir was returning from a retreat in Leakey, where Young lived at the time. The only passenger who survived was sitting farthest from the point of impact.
Young and members of his family testified during the three-day sentencing hearing.
Young’s testimony included apologies to the victims’ families. “I can’t put into words how sorry I am,” he said, according to KFDM-TV.
“I wish every day that it was me,” he added. “It should not have been them. If I could, I would in a heartbeat. I wish I could describe to y’all how much I’m sorry, but I can’t. Nothing will ever do it justice. I’m sorry for what I took from y’all.”
According to the AP, “Young pleaded no contest in June to 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault.”
He had faced up to 270 years in prison.