NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man who stole a truck three years ago in a drunken stupor and killed an MTA bus driver has been given the maximum sentence.

Dominick Whilby — the nephew of model and actor Tyson Beckford — will spend at least 5-and-a-half years in prison, but could do 25.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, friends, family, and fellow bus drivers teared up as the voices of grief filled the courtroom.

“The day before my dad died he told me, ‘I love you, be safe,’ but it was him that needed to be safe,” driver William Pena’s daughter Gabrielle said. “Because of one man’s lack of self-control I lost the most important man in my life.”

Pena family attorney Sanford Rubenstein said the sentence could serve as an example while providing peace of mind to his clients.

“This has been an ongoing real life nightmare for Nancy and her daughter Gabrielle with William. We hope the sentence imposed will not only set an example to young people of the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption but also enable her to see justice done and give her some peace of mind after this terrible tragedy the results of which she now has to live with for the rest of her life,” he said in a statement.

Whilby apologized for going out on a cold, drunken night, stealing an 18,000-lbs truck from a hotel, and ramming it into Pena’s 14th Street bus.

“My deepest and sincerest apologies,” he said.

He also said he is grateful that it happened, because it helped him mature.

“Show some empathy. How about if it was the other way? That he would have lost a loved one,” Pena’s partner Nancy Rodriguez said.

In sentencing Whilby to the maximum, the judge said his choices were fueled by alcohol and anger, and that the mixture never ends well.