Driver pleads guilty in Beverly crash that killed friend

SALEM, MA (WHDH) - A man charged with drunken driving in a car crash that killed his best friend changed his plea to guilty.

Joseph Castano, of Vermont, pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide, manslaughter and operating under the influence. The 20-year-old was behind the wheel when he crashed into a utility pole in Beverly back in April. His childhood friend, 20-year-old Craig Sampson, was his passenger and died in the crash. Sampson was a student at Endicott College in Beverly.

Police said Castano’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. The judge sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in the House of Correction. The families of both men were in court with many of them crying. Outside court, Sampson’s father Craig Sampson II cried as he told reporters he wanted this to be a lesson for other drivers to “think twice before you act once.”

“Any sentencing from our family was not desired to be any kind of revenge of retaliation,” said Craig Sampson II. “All we wanted was perhaps that a message would be sent not just to this young man but to our community all around us.”

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