Driver sentenced after pleading guilty in car crash that killed Rockland teen


SUFFERN, NY – An 18-year-old driver who pleaded guilty in connection with a fatal crash that occurred in Rockland County on April 24, 2021 was sentenced on Tuesday, the Journal News reports.

Joseph DeBellis of Airmont was sentenced by a Rockland County Family Court judge to six months in prison and five years of probation. He pleaded guilty to multiple charges against him, including aggravated vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and second-degree manslaughter.

The accident occurred in the area of Copeland Drive and Viola Road in the village of Montebello at about 2:50 a.m. Authorities said DeBellis was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he lost control on Route 202 and crashed into a utility pole. A 16-year-old girl who was a passenger in the car was killed. DeBellis and the three other passengers were injured. DeBellis was driving over 80 miles an hour at the time, according to investigators.

The five occupants of the car were Suffern High School students.

DeBellis was lodged in the Rockland County Jail following the sentencing.

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