Before going to jail for hitting and injuring a Manorville teenager while driving drunk, David Andresen apologized in court Friday to the boy and his family.
At his sentencing in Suffolk County Court, Andresen, 50, of Manorville, said he had wanted to apologize sooner to Joseph Garramone, 15, and his family but was reluctant to do so after he was arrested.
Prosecutors said Andresen had 12 drinks before striking Garramone as the boy rode his bicycle on Clancy Road in Manorville on July 2, 2009. Andresen's black Dodge Durango dragged Garramone's bike as Garramone hit the ground, police said at the time.
"I apologize," Andresen said Friday before he was sentenced to 6 months in jail and 5 years on probation. "I didn't think it was proper for me to approach you before this case was settled because I didn't know how you would take it."
Speaking in court, Andresen and Garramone's father shared different versions of what happened after Andresen hit Garramone.
Andresen said he had tried to place a blanket under the injured boy, but Joseph Garramone's father, John Garramone, said Andresen fled.
Andresen pleaded guilty in May to first-degree and second-degree vehicular assault. If he had been convicted at trial, he could have faced a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.
"You need help," John Garramone said to Andresen in court before the apology. "And you're very lucky that we were willing to accept six months."
Outside court, Joseph Garramone and his parents said they accepted Andresen's apology.
Now 15 and a 10th-grader at Eastport South Manor Junior-Senior High School, Garramone said outside court that he agreed to the plea bargain because "I wanted to get this over with."
He had played football before the crash, but can no longer play contact sports because of head trauma. He said he also struggles to pay attention in school because of a concussion from the accident.
"It's very difficult. Everything is different," he said. "It's changed my life totally."
County Court Judge Gary Weber revoked Andresen's driver's license and ordered him to install an ignition interlock on his car if he gets his license back. The interlock prevents a person from driving if the driver has had too much to drink.
Andresen's attorney, Nancy Bartling of Mineola, said Andresen is seeking treatment for alcoholism.