A Pierce County judge this afternoon sentenced a 19-year-old man to three years, five months in prison for causing a car wreck that killed his passenger last year.
Ryan Robert Bogue pleaded guilty in May to one count each of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Bogue was behind the wheel of a car that left the road on 112th Street East in Buckley and hit a utility pole Aug. 3. Trae’Von Norton, 17, was thrown from the car and died.
Bogue left the scene and called his sister, who dialed 911 to report the crash. He later told police he’d had three beers before the wreck and lost control of his car while trying to avoid deer on the road, court records show.
Blood tests revealed small amounts of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs in his system, but speed was the determining factor in the wreck, Bogue’s attorney, Dana Ryan, said Thursday.
Investigators determined Bogue was driving more than 80 mph in the seconds prior to the wreck, court records state.
“He was just driving too fast,” Ryan said.
Bogue apologized to his own family and that of Norton at his sentencing hearing.
Ryan said his client took to heart the words of Norton’s relatives, who told Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson their faith in God was helping them overcome their loss.
In letters to the court, Norton’s friends and relatives described him as a compassionate boy who listened attentively to people and made them laugh with funny imitations.
His cousin, Melina Massey, wrote a poem in his honor, titled, “Facing Reality.”
In it, Massey wrote about how her cousin’s death opened her eyes to the frailty of life.
“I know now it wasn’t an accident that killed my cousin because there was a purpose for his death as well as his life, and for the rest of my life everything I do is in my cousin’s honor,” Massey in her letter to the court.
Norton’s mother and both grandmothers spoke at Bogue’s sentencing, reminiscing about Norton and talking eloquently about forgiveness, deputy prosecutor Tim Jones said.
“It was a very emotional hearing,” Jones said.
Cuthbertson then imposed the low end of the sentencing range on Bogue.