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Driver, 20, given 7 years in fatal DUI crash

This tragedy shows the importance of responsible alcohol sellers, bartenders and servers.  Learn to possibly prevent tragedies like this one by educating yourself in responsible alcohol service practices
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August 31, 2012 5:06 pm  •  By Edith Brady-Lunny eblunny@pantagraph.com
BLOOMINGTON — Radley Monson’s drinking problem was compared to a game of Russian roulette Friday that ended with a tragic accident that left a good friend dead and Monson sentenced to seven years in prison.
Prosecutor Matt Banach told a judge at Monson’s sentencing hearing on aggravated drunk driving charges that the 20-year-old defendant did not qualify for probation in the Feb. 15 death of Nick Kauffmann, also 20, from Bloomington.
Monson “exemplifies the target audience for underage drinking that needs to be shown the consequences of underage drinking and getting behind the wheel,” said Banach, asking for a 9-year prison term.
Testimony at the sentencing hearing packed with supporters of the victim and Monson included evidence that Monson continued to drink after the accident and lied to treatment providers and court services personnel about his apparent addiction to alcohol.
Monson used his chance to make a statement to turn directly to Kauffman’s family and apologize for the crash that occurred after he and three others, including Kaufmann, were served alcohol for several hours at the former Danvers Y Tap. The rural tavern voluntarily closed after the accident and misdemeanor charges are pending against the bartender.
“I wish it had been me,” not because of the legal consequences “but because of the entire pain and suffering I’ve caused your entire family,” Monson told Kauffman’s family.
Monson’s mother, Traci Monson, testified her son told her after the crash that, “I’ve killed one of my best friends and I’m so ashamed. I hope his parents can forgive me.”
Defense lawyer James Waller asked for probation and county jail time for Monson, saying he shouldn’t be sent to prison because of an addiction: “It’s just not something we do anymore,” Waller said.
In his comments before handing down a sentence, Judge Paul Lawrence recognized that Monson is “a good person who made a bad decision on this evening,” but that a prison term was necessary to deter others from making the same bad choice.
After the hearing, Banach said the seven-year term “is a just sentence that reflects how gravely serious this crime was.”
http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/driver-given-years-in-fatal-dui-crash/article_21b662b8-f3b8-11e1-90df-0019bb2963f4.html
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