An Oxford man who wrecked his car and killed his friend during a police chase in 2012 has been sentenced to seven months in jail and two years of probation.
In January, Eric Ramirez pleaded no contest. On Monday, he was sentenced for negligent homicide and engaging police in pursuit.
Authorities said Ramirez was fleeing from a police officer at speeds reaching more than 90 mph when his car hit an embankment and flew into a building in Oxford on March 9, 2012.
Former Seymour Officer Anthony Renaldi was cleared of wrongdoing in the chase. He had tried to stop Ramirez for having illegal neon lights under his car.
The crash killed 15-year-old Brandon Giordano, of Oxford.
Giordano’s family said it’s been a tough two years for them.
“We do the best we can, but it doesn't get easier at all. It never does," said Angela Borrelli, Giordano's mother. "You think about him in everything you do. Every second of your life, you think about him, and him not being there with you. It's like living half of a life.”
At the sentencing, Ramirez told the court he also lives with the consequence of his actions every day.
“He actually spoke from his heart, and explained how no punishment could make him feel worse than how he feels right now, and how terrible he felt, and how he was very touched by the victim's mother's input in that she really fought for him,” said Tara Knight, attorney for Ramirez.
Borrelli told the court she didn't want Ramirez to serve jail time, but the judge sentenced him to seven months in jail, saying the punishment would give Ramirez something to think about and prevent other teens from acting in the same way.
“The family is devastated. These kinds of cases are very tough. It was an accident in the sense that he didn't mean to hurt anyone, and he wasn't drinking, there weren't drugs involved, this was his best friend, so it's a tragedy all the way around,” said Knight.
Even Borrelli doesn’t think jail isn't the place for Ramirez.
“I think he would do a lot better to the community being out of prison and being able to talk about what happened that night so that he has a chance to impact other teenagers from making the same decisions he made,” she said.
However, Giordano’s family is accepting the judge’s decision and hopes it helps them heal.
“This process has been very difficult for our family, and we're still in the process of healing, and my hope is, is that today is just another step towards helping not just me, but my whole family, and his friends, move forward,” said Kim Wargo, Giordano’s grandmother.