Drunk driver gets probation, victim’s parents call for mercy

CLAVERACK—Thomas Griffin, 19, of Germantown was sentenced to five years probation, alcohol evaluation, 1,000 hours of community service and revocation of his driver’s license after he pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter during an emotional session in Columbia County Court, May 17.

According to State Police, Mr. Griffin was driving drunk, when his 2003 Toyota went off the road and struck a utility pole near 3168 Route 9, Livingston, December 31 at about 1:30 a.m.


Mr. Griffin’s friend, rear seat passenger, Max Kelly, 21 of Germantown was extricated from the vehicle by Livingston firefighters and was airlifted in critical condition to Albany Medical Center with extensive injuries. He subsequently died as a result of those injuries.

The courtroom in the temporary county courthouse in Claverack was filled with family and friends of both young men.

Represented by Attorney Thomas O’Hern, Mr. Griffin was sentenced by Greene County Judge George Pulver, after he heard compelling statements from Mr. Kelly’s mother and father, who tearfully beseeched the judge for no jail time.

Both Columbia County Judges Richard Koweek and Jonathan Nichols recused themselves from handling the case.

Mr. Kelly was a student at Columbia-Greene Community College and the proud captain of the Twins baseball team.

He was an All-Star baseball player and was most recently recognized by the Mountain Valley Collegiate Conference for the All Conference Baseball Team.

His parents, Jodie Rae Wische and John Michael Kelly accepted their son’s college diploma posthumously at C-GCC graduation ceremonies Saturday, May 18.



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