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Michele Errico sends emotional message to DWI driver at sentencing

From left, Brandy Henry, a friend who read

From left, Brandy Henry, a friend who read victim impact statement, and Michele Errico, mother of victim Vito Errico, react after Jonathan Sobrane, convicted of vehicular manslaughter, is sentenced at the Nassau County Courthouse on Monday, May 8, 2017, in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The mother of a 22-year-old Oceanside man who died in a parkway wreck sent an emotional message Monday to the motorist who caused the 2016 crash after he drank beer and injected heroin.

“I hope every day you sit in that cell and think about what you have done to us, what you have done to my son,” Vito Errico’s mother told the driver, Jonathan Sobrane, 38, of Freeport.

The words of Michele Errico, 45, came in a letter family friend Brandy Henry read at Sobrane’s Nassau County Court sentencing. It followed his March plea to aggravated vehicular homicide, assault and impaired driving charges after the April 17, 2016 crash on the Southern State Parkway.

“Your sentence is only 6 to 18 years. Ours is for life,” the mother’s letter also said.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty said while meting out Sobrane’s punishment that his “irresponsible, selfish, criminal behavior” had “tragically decimated” others. The judge also said she hoped he would reflect on the choices he had made while he was serving time behind bars.

Sobrane was driving at least 90 mph and weaving through traffic at about 3:40 a.m. when his 2004 Acura clipped the back of a 2006 Toyota Highlander, sending the Acura careening off the parkway before it hit trees and uprooted a light pole, according to prosecutors.

He and his passengers, which included Vito Errico, were returning from a New York City club when the crash happened on the eastbound parkway side near exit 17 on the border of West Hempstead.

Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Palma said in court Monday Errico had told Sobrane to slow down before the impact, which ejected Errico from the car and trapped him under the downed pole.

Authorities said a 23-year-old Acura passenger suffered a fractured femur and head lacerations that left her skull exposed. A 21-year-old male passenger suffered a broken arm and finger, according to authorities.

Sobrane chose not to make a statement in court. But his Mineola attorney, David Haber, said his client had asked him to say “he is very sorry for what took place.”

Errico went to Oceanside High School before he started doing construction work with his father, with dreams of someday taking over the business, according to his family.

“He is forever missed,” Errico’s childhood friend, Jesse Jimenez, 24, said as a contingent of supporters left court Monday with the victim’s mother and sisters.

“Vito was an amazing person. He lit up every room he came into,” said Henry, 52, who also had spoken in court. “And people will never really know what this world has lost because his light was so bright.”

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