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Herman Chandler, Of Jersey City, Sentenced To 30 Years In Crash That Killed 2

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Jersey City man who admitted he was high on drugs when he slammed his vehicle into a taxi and killed two people has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Herman Chandler was given the maximum sentence Thursday in a Jersey City courtroom.

The 36 year-old Jersey City resident admitted he had been drunk and high on PCP on Jan. 18, 2012 when he crashed his truck, which was traveling faster than 80 mph, into a taxi cab, which burst into flames, and then struck and killed a pedestrian walking along the sidewalk in downtown Jersey City. Jairo Camelo, 41, and James Fuller Jr., 44, both Jersey City residents, were killed. The taxi driver was injured.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, Chandler, who has a long list of driving infractions, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated manslaughter.

Relatives of the victims spoke of their pain in court Thursday.

“I miss him every single day, ” said Calero’s widow, Semra.

“I am sorry if I sound like a bitter person; I am,” said Fuller’s widow, Debra Fuller. “Because I am lonely.”

Fuller’s daughter, Sara, was away at school when he was killed.

“I couldn’t see him until it was time to bury him,” she said, crying.

Chandler, who asked the judge for leniency before he was sentenced, apologized to the families.

“I never meant to hurt anybody,” Chandler said. “I never meant to go out and smoke PCP and drive a car or anything of that nature.”

Debra Fuller said she wasn’t content with the sentence.

“My opinion, that wasn’t enough,” she said. “But I can’t fight the law.”

With time served and good behavior, Chandler could be released from prison in about 22 years, the judge said.

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