Man convicted of fatal wrong-way crash sentenced to 7 years in prison

Franklin Chavez, 24, faced up to 26 years behind bars

MIAMI – A driver who caused a fatal crash while driving the wrong way on Interstate 95 in Miami in 2015 was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison.

Franklin Chavez, 24, had faced up to 26 years behind bars.

Prosecutors said Chavez had been drinking when he got in his car on Dec. 13, 2015, and started driving south in the northbound lanes of I-95.

Police said he crashed head-on with another vehicle, killing Carmen Criales, 22.

The victim's mother, Elisa Diaz, and her brother, Bryan Criales, were critically injured in the crash.

Both survivors were in court on Friday.

Bryan Criales suffered a traumatic brain injury and is no longer able to walk or talk.

There was a lot of emotion in the courtroom as many people also showed up in support for Chavez.

"I understand the pain you live with today," Chavez told the victims. "The pain is unbearable, and it is hard for me to sleep at night, knowing all the suffering that I've caused for you, to my family and for myself."

Authorities said the family was on their way to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on the day of the crash, because Carmen Criales was flying to New Jersey to go to orientation for medical school.

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