COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A man accused of driving drunk and killing a teen one month shy of high school graduation was sentenced to 24 years in prison on Tuesday, the maximum sentence for his crime.
In a packed, emotional courtroom, 10 people took the stand to honor the life of 18-year-old Michael Finley, asking the judge to hand out the maximum sentence to Michael Fay. Finley's father said he was a caring, loving and kind man who had a positive impact on many people.
Finley's girlfriend spoke, saying she felt completely and utterly lost after the deadly crash.
"They say time heals all wounds, but they're wrong," explained his girlfriend, Bridget.
The prosecution stated Fay is solely to blame for Finley's death.
Fay, 53, pleaded guilty at his arraignment back in August, nearly four months after the April 14 crash that took Finley's life. Finley was on his way to meet friends on a Friday night when State Patrol says Fay made an abrupt left and collided with the teen's oncoming car.
After five people spoke in support of the driver, Fay spoke himself just before receiving the maximum sentence, saying he's heartbroken and that he has no excuse for choosing to drink and drive. Fay's family said he understands their loss since he lost his own son just over a year ago.
In the days following the crash, a memorial formed for Finley at the crash site on East Woodmen Road and Golden Sage, just west of Meridian Road.
Finley's family told 11 News they hoped their son's death could help others make the choice to not drink and drive.
"What we want ... the community to come together and heighten the awareness of the severity of drinking and driving. When poor choices are made, it can potentially affect people -- and it's affected our family, and it's affected our community," said Mason Peters, Finley's stepfather.