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UPDATE: Teenager sentenced for crash that killed two in Roanoke County

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Web Staff, WDBJ7, news@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 29 2014 10:15:00 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 29 2014 07:04:32 PM EDT

A judge sentenced Young to a youthful offender program for no more than four years while receiving 12 years for involuntary manslaughter that's suspended.

ROANOKE CO., Va. -

The teenager who was behind the wheel in a Roanoke County car crash that killed two of his friends was sentenced Tuesday afternoon.

Dominique Young, 17, will be entered into a Department of Corrections Youthful Diversion Program for no longer than four years. Young was actually sentenced to 12 years for involuntary manslaughter, but that sentence will be suspended if he successfully completes the Youthful Diversion Program.

Young was 16 at the time of the crash.

Young was driving the car that crashed in a residential neighborhood on Merriman Road near Cave Spring High School in November. Danial Buckner, 18, of Franklin County, and Cody Elliott, 20, of Southwest Roanoke, died at the scene of the crash.

Since he's been in juvenile detention, Young has taken full responsibility for what he did.

Young told the court that he thinks about Danial Buckner and Cody Elliott every night before he goes to sleep.

We also learned that Young was dealing with alcohol and marijuana abuse leading up to the accident that some of his closest mentors didn't even know.

Young was in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court five days before the accident because he was driving without a license, and the judge told him not to drive.

Elliott's family said they forgave Young just days after the accident.

Buckner's family did not speak in court, but it was clear they didn't show the same compassion. Young took the stand in his sentencing hearing today and said he still has trouble reconciling what his actions led to.

“I can't imagine what the parents of Danial Buckner and Cody Elliott have been going through while I've been going through this, and if given the chance I'd be willing to do anything and everything I could to fix what I did with both the families,” Young told the court.

We're told Young has been cooperative, and has been going through counseling, and has become a straight-A student while at the Juvenile Detention Center.

We're also told the program he'll be doing as part of his sentence will continue that counseling and education as he learns how to re-enter society and not make the past mistakes he's already made.

According to the Roanoke County Police Department, Buckner and Elliott were in the backseat of the car. They were not wearing seat belts. The front passenger survived. The car flipped and snapped a power pole in half, before skidding across two yards.

Investigators say speed played a factor in the crash.