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Father Sentenced for Role in Teenagers’ Deaths

HONESDALE — The father of an underage driver involved in a crash that killed three teenagers was sentenced to prison in Wayne County. Michael Ware of New ...

HONESDALE -- The father of an underage driver involved in a crash that killed three teenagers was sentenced to prison in Wayne County.

Michael Ware of New York will spend the next six and a half to16 years behind bars.

Last month, Ware pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for allowing his then 15-year-old daughter, Julia, to drive his SUV without a license. She crashed the vehicle on Goose Pond Road near Hamlin last summer, killing Ryan Lesher, Shamus Digney and Cullen Keffer.

For nearly an hour, Michael Ware had to listen to not only the parents of the victims scold his skills as a father, but the judge chastising as well, sending a strong message to those trying to be "the cool dad" at the expense of a child's safety.

"As a parent, I think it struck a chord with everybody in the courtroom," said D.A. Janine Edwards. "This is, as he said, such a preventable crime that could have not caused such a catastrophe."

"The judge, in a very dramatic sentence, upped the sentence," said defense attorney Robert Reno. Ware's attorney said he plans to appeal the judge's ruling. "It should not stand under the law. It was inappropriate."

After Michael Ware was sentenced, parents of those three teenagers who died said for one reason or another, they'll never get the closure they need.

"We got him," said Ed Lesher, the father of Ryan Lesher. "[Ware is] being punished now. But now that he's in there, now I can file a petition to re-try Julia because she got off too easy."

"I don't really know what closure is," said Joe Keffer, the father of Cullen Keffer. "We're going to be feeling miserable the rest of our lives."

Julia Ware admitted her guilt in April and was sentenced to probation, possibly until she's 21.

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