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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2013

Toledoan sentenced to nearly 9 years for killing friend in drunken driving crash

BLADE STAFF

A South Toledo man convicted in the death of his best friend in a drunken driving crash was sentenced today to 8.5 years in prison.

Francisco Cortez, 22, of 754 Prouty Ave., also was ordered by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks to pay $6,076 to the family of Paul Gonzalez for his funeral expenses. Judge Franks also suspended Cortez’s driver’s license for life.

Cortez was behind the wheel Feb. 27, 2012 when the car he was driving crashed into a light pole in the 2900 block of Broadway Street in the Harvard Boulevard area. He was driving at such a high rate of speed the car split in two, killing Mr. Gonzalez, 25, who was in the back seat.

Last month, Cortez pleaded no contest to aggravated vehicular homicide and entered a guilty plea to illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse into a detention facility for having a friend mail marijuana to him at the Lucas County jail.

“What a way to honor your lost friend whose life you took by smoking dope, bringing it into the county jail,” Judge Franks said.

The sentence she imposed included six years in prison for aggravated vehicular homicide – the maximum possible sentence under a plea agreement approved by the victim’s family and police -- and 30 months for illegal conveyance.



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