By Eric Francis, Standard Correspondent
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Woodstock man whose decision to drink and drive cost the life of his best friend when the pair slid through an intersection and into a creek in West Woodstock in August was given a six-month sentence in an emotional hearing in court Thursday morning.
Justin Pierce, 22, plead guilty to a felony count of drunk driving — first offense — with a fatality resulting in connection with the death of 22-year-old Jonathan Ferrero of Woodstock.
Pierce voluntarily checked himself into jail a month ago in anticipation of the plea deal and was released from the courthouse Thursday morning to serve the remaining 150 days of his time under home confinement monitored by the Probation Department.
Pierce and Ferrero, who had known each other since they were three or four years old, were more like brothers than friends, defense attorney Chris Dall told Judge Karen Carroll as he urged her to accept what under normal circumstances would be an unusually light sentence for a drunk driving death.
David Ferrero, Jonathan’s father, attended the sentencing and also urged Judge Carroll to endorse the unusual outcome, saying that he could not imagine a punishment more severe than the one Pierce had already endured watching his friend die next to him just hours after the pair had won a baseball championship together in Claremont.