A judge sentenced a Missoula man to 45 years with 40 suspended for a crash that killed two.
Just over a year after 23-year-old Justin Barber drove under the influence of alcohol and drugs and crashed his car, killing two of his friends, he faced a judge for his sentence.
Investigators concluded Barber drove 92 miles an hour down Hillview Way in Missoula's south hills in March, 2012. At the time Barber was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana. He drove off the side of the road killing 18-year-old Joshua Gruebele, 20-year-old Jason McDonald and seriously injured a third passenger, Nic Platz.
The five years Barber will to serve for the crime won't be in prison. He also gets credit for time served in jail. Barber's been in jail since he was released from the hospital just days after the accident. It evens out to about four years with the Department of Corrections.
District Court Judge Ed McLean recommended Barber be enrolled in a boot camp program as well as a drug and alcohol treatment program.
McLean told Barber his sentenced was based on the people who showed up to support him. One of them Cassie Gruebele, the mother of Joshua Gruebele who died in the crash.
"He's a bright young man who has a huge heart and who has an ability to connect with people," said Gruebele. "It would be like losing my son again if we lost Justin too."
Gruebele wasn't alone on asking for a second chance. Barber's sister, his aunt, a former teacher and a friend all testified, asking that Barber not be locked up.
"He is worthy of a second chance, I think he will make us all proud," said Barber's aunt Staci Flynn.
Barber spoke up in court as well. He told the judge he will live with guilt of what he did for the rest of his life.
"If I could go back and change that night I would," said Barber. "I'll do everything I can to honor Josh, Jason and Nic."
McLean told Barber during the 40 years suspended if he's caught with one trace of alcohol or drugs in his system he'll go straight to the Montana State Prison.