A Pierce County judge on Wednesday sentenced a 25-year-old Olympia man to six years, six months in prison for causing the wreck that killed his boss this summer.
Minutes before being sentenced, Matthew Hester pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide, admitting he was behind the wheel of a 1990 Toyota pickup that went out of control Aug. 3 on state Route 7 about a mile north of Alder.
Hester’s passenger, 48-year-old Paul Caffarel, was thrown out of the truck and died at the scene, court records show.
Hester told investigators after the wreck that he and Caffarel had spent the day drinking and that the older man had asked him to drive from the Elbe Tavern into Tacoma that night.
Deputy prosecutor Tim Jones said Wednesday that Hester has been remorseful and “wanted to plead guilty from the very beginning.”
Caffarel, a University Place resident, was Hester’s boss and friend, Jones said.
Jones and defense attorney Aaron Talney had recommended a sentenced of five years, but Superior Court Judge Garold Johnson added 18 months.
The victim’s mother, Judith Caffarel, wrote a letter to the court in which she expressed her sadness at the death of her son, who had three daughters and a granddaughter.
“We could always count on his help and love,” she wrote.
Caffarel also had a message for Hester.
“To me, the most important message I wish to give to Matthew is that when you decide to drink and drive, it is not just about you,” she wrote. “You have the potential to change many lives forever with that one bad decision.”