NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was an emotional day in a Queens courtroom as a wrong-way driver was sentenced for killing a beloved bar owner from Maspeth.
CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman was in the courtroom Monday as the victim’s family faced the driver.
Some 100 family and friends of the victim packed the courtroom as Peter Rodriguez was sentenced to 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison after striking a livery cab while going the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway service road in Maspeth on Oct. 15, 2011.
In that livery cab was the 37-year-old owner of the “Gibbons Home” bar, George Gibbons, who was pronounced dead on arrival following the crash. Rodriguez fled the scene was later arrested in Connecticut after a month-long search.
“I’m sorry that he’s not getting more, but you know, we’ll just have to come back again when he’s up for parole and see what can be done. If we can extend it longer, hopefully we can,” the victim’s father, George Gibbons Sr., told CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman.
Even the words of family friends were stopped by their own tears.
“George was a person who’d take the shirt off his back for you and give it to you. He’s gonna be well missed,” one friend said.
Gibbons Sr. listened in the courtroom as his five other children told Rodriguez what he had done by killing their oldest brother. The tragedy happened on the birthday of Gibbons’ brother, Brendan.
“I’ll remember every year on my birthday. I’ll have no choice, because of Peter Rodriguez, but I’ll also celebrate my brother’s life every year on my birthday,” Brendan Gibbons said.
Rodriguez has been arrested at least five other times for drugs and assault.
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