- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2016

SALEM, Mass. (AP) - A Vermont man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty in Massachusetts to charges stemming from a crash that killed his best friend.

Prosecutors said 20-year-old Joseph Castano of Williston, Vermont, was drunk and speeding when he crashed near Endicott College in Beverly in April.

Castano was visiting his childhood friend, 19-year-old Craig Sampson, who was a sophomore at the school. Sampson died in the crash.

Castano will be on probation for three years after serving his prison sentence, and won’t be allowed to drive for at least 15 years under the sentence imposed Thursday by Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said the tragedy that has devastated two families was “entirely avoidable.”

Castano’s lawyer said his client accepts responsibility.

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