A driver who participated in a 2014 street race that killed five other teens was sentenced Friday to six months in jail and probation, despite revelations from prosecutors that he had posted an epithet to police the day he pleaded guilty and that he was arrested again while awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutors had pressed for one to three years for Cory Gloe, citing the social media posts that appeared to mock the criminal justice system. They also noted Gloe's arrest on a weapons charge, which was later dropped.
The judge nevertheless granted youthful offender status because Gloe was 17 at the time of the crash, saying he thought justice would be better served by not sentencing him to upstate prison time for what he called an error in judgment sparked by "juvenile ignorance."
U.S. & World
The day's top national and international news.
"It's been offered that movies like 'Fast and Furious' and TV reality shows on street racing glamorize such conduct and desensitize our youth from the dangers of such conduct," acting state Supreme Court Justice Terence Murphy said. "I couldn't agree more, but imprisonment won't offer anything back to combat this danger. Education is power."
The judge also described the social media posts as a "continued lack of judgment," warning Gloe that he would face prison time if he violates any of the terms of his probation, which will last five years.
The sentencing prompted gasps in the Long Island courtroom, which was packed with victims' families and a crash survivor. Several gave emotional statements during the hearing.
"The youthful offender status bothers me because he was only a month and a half from his 18th birthday the night of the accident," Sandra Lonnborg, the mother of crash victim Carly Lonnberg, said afterward.
Mark McGlone, Carly Lonnberg's uncle, left the courtroom in disgust.
"My niece's life equated to 23 days of his time," he said. "Unacceptable."
Gloe, now 19, apologized before hearing his sentence.
"I'm reminded of this every day and I will be for the rest of my life. And I take full responsibility for my actions," Gloe said in a quiet voice. He promised to "dedicate my life to young kids to make sure they don't cause the pain that I've caused."
He pleaded guilty in March to a 17-count indictment that included five manslaughter charges in exchange for the six-month sentence.
Gloe was one of two drivers engaging in a drag race in Farmingdale in May 2014. The driver and four passengers in the other car died when that vehicle crashed into an oncoming SUV. The SUV driver and his passenger were seriously injured. Prosecutors said Gloe goaded the other driver into racing.
The day Gloe pleaded guilty, he posted messages using an epithet about the police and claiming "I'll be in and out faster than you can spin a doubt."
The judge warned Gloe in March that his promise of a six-month term would be revoked if Gloe got into any more trouble.
He was arrested days later during a traffic stop in which he was a passenger. He was charged with a felony after police found a gravity knife in the vehicle, but those charges were later dismissed after prosecutors said the driver of the vehicle told them he owned the knife.
Greg Cergol contributed to this report.