A 19-year-old was sentenced Thursday for a street racing crash that killed a Frederickson motorcyclist.
Jovell Swayzer pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide earlier this year, for the April 19 crash that fatally injured 61-year-old Rollin Gray.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend sentenced him to a low-end sentence of a year and nine months in prison, which is what both the defense and prosecution recommended.
“Driving a car is a privilege and carries with it a great responsibility,” she told him.
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Swayzer and a 16-year-old schoolmate were racing near Gray’s home, when Swayzer cut in front of the other teenager, who lost control and hit Gray’s 2006 Harley Davidson, according to charging papers.
The crashed happened about a block from Gray’s home.
He died later at the hospital.
The 16-year-old, who also pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, was sentenced Tuesday to serve 15 to 36 weeks at a juvenile facility. The state Department of Social and Health Services determines when he’ll be released.
Gray was part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and his family said about 200 motorcycles showed up at the Navy veteran’s memorial service.
Loved ones brought one of his leather vests with the group’s logo to court Thursday, and many wore similar ones, including wife Becky Gray, as she addressed the court.
She told Judge Arend how her husband suffered in the hospital.
“He did not go quietly and peacefully,” she said. “He was in agony.”
She and Gray had been separated, and he was dating Tina Austin, who also spoke to the court about Gray’s death. The women have become close, they said, since his passing.
His twin sister, Carol Rose, told the court what it was like to lose her brother.
“For the first time, I’m older than him,” she said. “For the first time, we didn’t have our birthday together.”
Swayzer apologized to the family, and said: “I wish I could take it back every day.”
Outside court, Gray’s family spoke about how he loved to blast bluegrass music while riding his Harley. He also liked to play the banjo himself, they said, and was serious about his hugs.
His loved ones and Swayzer’s consoled each other with some of those serious hugs in the hallway after the sentencing.
A friend from the motorcycle group, Mike Remington, talked about how Gray once hugged him with such force that it knocked out Remington’s hearing aid.
And as he embraced one of Swayzer’s loved ones, he told them it was Rollin’s way.