The Short of it
Michael Ware is being held accountable for the tragic car crash that killed three teenage boys in Pleasantville, Pa., and he wasn’t behind the wheel. He allowed his unlicensed 15-year-old daughter to drive four other friends to breakfast.
Sometimes the line between parent and friend can be blurred, and this was one of those times. Likely trying to relate to his daughter and show-off his “cool” parenting style, Michael Ware allowed his 15-year-old kid, who did not have a driver's license, to drive her friends in his SUV to breakfast. They never made it to pancakes and toast.
A neighbor recalled a voice yelling out: "Slow down" before the fatal crash. It was too late. Cullen Keffer, Shamus Digney and Ryan Lesher, all 15-year-old residents of Bucks County, Penn., died in the crash. Another passenger was seriously injured.
At Ware’s sentencing on Aug. 20, where he was given 16 years in prison, the judge didn't hold back: "Your failure to be a father and say 'No' caused these tragic deaths," said Judge Raymond Hamill.
The same sentiment was relayed even harder by Lisa Lesher, whose son Ryan was killed in the accident.
"Your irresponsible parenting caused the deaths of three amazing boys. Your desire to be the cool dad devastated the entire community," she said.
Ware addressed the parents of the deceased children, saying in court: "I will never be able to feel the loss the families will forever feel. I can only say, hopefully, this brings some form of closure for everyone affected by this horrible tragedy. Neither I, nor my daughter...ever meant any harm to anyone that day."
Ware's daughter acknowledged responsibility for the deaths she caused in juvenile court to vehicular homicide counts and was placed on indefinite probation. The teen was also ordered to do 300 hours of community service, pay restitution and write a 2,000-word essay on the impact of her crime. She hasn't spoken to her "cool dad" since the day of the crash and told investigators she had been driving since the age of 14, "putting more mileage on the car that trip than her father."
Is there ever a silver lining in something like this? No. But hopefully the sinking feeling this story gives us in our stomachs will remind us that we’re in charge and responsible for the little humans we created. We're not supposed to give in and give up.
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