Driver Sentenced to 12 Years in River Road Crash That Killed Teen, Parents

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crash that killed a teenager and his parents in Bethesda, Maryland.

Olgucan Atakoglu, of Potomac, was driving his father's turbo-charged BMW like a bullet when he slammed into a family's car along River Road on Feb. 27, prosecutors said.

"This young man was traveling at 115 miles an hour only seconds before this crash," said Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy.

Michael Buarque de Macedo, 52, his wife Alessandra M. Buarque de Macedo, 53, and their son, Thomas, 17, all died in the crash. Helena Buarque de Macedo, now 16, survived the crash.

The family was heading to a play at Walt Whitman High School at the time of the crash.

Before his sentencing in court, Atakoglu sobbed and shook while saying, "Every day I pray God will shine down endless love on Helena and her family. I pray to God to forgive me for my negligence and recklessness."

Atakoglu's defense attorney, David Felsen, said the deadly crash was the reckless and careless act of a young man who thought he was invincible.


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"We had hoped the court would take into consideration... Ogulcan's remorse, his acceptance of responsibility and the fact that this was not an intentional act," Felsen said. "I think the last thing I heard was his mother scream as he was being taken away that she loved him," Felsen said.

However, Judge Mary Beth McCormick referenced Atakoglu's driving record, including numerous arrests for speeding, when she sentenced him to 30 years in prison, with all but 12 years suspended.

"When are you going to wake up? You took a selfish risk that resulted in the death of three people. Frankly, there is no excuse for your recklessness," McCormick said.

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