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Collision center owner sentenced in crash that left friend a quadriplegic

May 11, 2018 07:02 PM

The owner of a well-known chain of area businesses went before the judge Friday to find out if he was going to prison for causing a crash that left a friend a quadriplegic.

John Cole, owner of Cole's Collision Centers, faced as little as probation to as much as seven years in state prison when he was sentenced.

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The 53-year-old owner of Cole's Collision Centers was convicted in March of assault, driving while ability impaired and reckless driving. It all centered around a night in March 2017. Cole crashed his turbocharged BMW on Sitterly Road with his wife in the passenger seat and their friends, Scott and Deanna Shapiro in the back. The Coles and the Shapiros had been out for the night to have drinks and see a band. They were on their way home when Cole drove 78 miles per hour in a 40 and smashed into a tree, leaving Mrs. Shapiro paralyzed.

"John gave me a life sentence confined to this wheelchair -- forever dependent on others for my most basic needs," Deanna Shapiro told the court.

Mr. Shapiro chastised Cole for not accepting responsibility and asked him to drop his appeal.

"Most of all, give Dee the apology that any decent human being would've given her 426 days ago," said Scott Shapiro.

The Shapiros' 15-year-old son, Zachary, also addressed the court.

"Our childhood has been ruined because of stupid and senseless acts by John Cole," he said.

Judge Jim Murphy could have sentenced Cole to as little as probation, to a maximum of up to seven years in prison. First, he gave Cole -- who has five prior felony convictions, a chance to speak.

"I just hope in time we can all continue to heal," Cole told the court.

Unswayed by Cole's tears, the judge sentenced him to the maximum of seven years.

"You were impaired by alcohol, you were speeding, you were reckless, you were showing off," chided Murphy.

Cole remains free on bail set by a higher court until his appeal is heard.

You can read the full text of the victim impact statements here.

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WNYT Staff

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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