19-year-old Michael Carr of Colonie has been sentenced to 6 years in prison and 3 years post-release supervision after he pleaded guilty in December to second degree assault and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The October 2016 crash that destroyed Blessings Tavern in Colonie also resulted in burns on over 95% of the body of his passenger; 17-year-old Nico DiNovo.
In sentencing Carr this morning, Albany County Court Judge William Carter told him "this was not an accident," and that he needs to reflect on what he did and find ways to make amends."
"This is something that you did," Judge Carter said. "This is something you will have to live with."
Nico's brother, Michael DiNovo and his aunt, Davina Resciniti, delivered emotional victim impact statements prior to Carr's sentencing. Resciniti revealed that her nephew cannot speak, walk, or move, and has lost his eyelids, ears, and part of his nose.
"You robbed Nico of his innocence," Resciniti said. "You robbed him of a normal future."
But both also spoke of forgiveness, and a hope that the two of them could find themselves "on a stage" talking about the bad choices that were made.
At one point, Assistant DA Mary Tanner-Richter, at the request of the family, showed Carr several recent pictures of Nico. Carr turned away and begin crying audibly.
A few minutes later, Carr apologized to the DiNovo family.
"I never meant to hurt anyone," Carr said, "I never meant to make this mistake. I love Nico, and I regret this every day. I think about him every day. He's always in my thoughts and prayers."
DiNovo has been hospitalized ever since the crash and has undergone 29 surgeries at Westchester Medical Center. While brother Michael said the family is confident Nico will pull through, he also gave a more sobering update on his condition.
"He actually had a setback. He reacted to the anasthesia in a different way than he did the past 28 times. He's kind of out of it, not too responsive, not really himself the way he was before that surgery."
Judge Carter also read a portion of a victim impact statement from a former chef at Blessings Tavern, who said he was forced into retirement when the tavern was destroyed.
Photo: Colonie Police