FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A 19-year-old man was sentenced Friday to four years in prison after pleading guilty in a hit-and-run that killed a man who was mowing a lawn.
Daniel Ferguson, now 19, was sentenced to concurrent sentences of four years in prison and two on probation for the charge of leaving the scene of an accident and four years in prison and one year of probation for driving without a license in the May 2010 crash.
Police said Ferguson was driving a car that hit and killed Ronald Newell while Newell was mowing the lawn of a family member's home at 3611 NW Ninth Court in Lauderhill.
A passenger in the car, Jakari Murry, also died as a result of injuries he suffered in the crash.
Even on the day of the crash, then-17-year-old Ferguson admitted he didn't have a license and said that loose balloons in his car made him panic behind the wheel. He said he drove away after hitting Newell because he panicked even more.
"If there was more that I could do -- I wish there was something I really could do to bring back their family member. I am so sorry," said Ferguson's stepmother, Vanessa Ferguson, at the sentencing hearing.
The judge said that in sentencing Ferguson, he took into account his age and the facts that he admitted to being behind the wheel and had no prior adjudication.
The sentence brought out a range of emotions from those connected to the case.
"I think he should get more because my brother died, and there's nothing that's going to bring him back," said Newell's sister, Enid Minott. "I'm not even from here. I'm from Canada, and I came here three times for this case, and I'm getting nothing, and I'm not happy. I'm not satisfied."
"It's a big relief for me, and I'm happy with the judge's decision. I'm glad he doesn't have to sit in there because he is a child. It was an accident, and I'm glad my brother don't have to serve the rest of his life and he will be able to get out as a young adult and go on with life," said Ferguson's sister, Keyana Robinson.
With credit for time served, Ferguson could be out of prison in about two and a half years. He will lose his driver's license for life.
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