In 2010, one of the worst stories I’ve ever come across took place in the Hamptons.
Matthew Byank, a young man from Wading River who was 19 at the time, was taking his pregnant girlfriend on a motorcycle ride toward Montauk, when a police officer attempted to pull him over for speeding.
Instead of pulling over, Byank took off at high speeds, weaving in and out of traffic, and a short time later he crashed his bike. Byank suffered a few injuries, but nothing life-threatening or debilitating. His 19-year-old girlfriend was killed.
Byank was arrested, and the charges before him, both legal and moral, run deep. All because he was young and dumb, and thought he was invincible.
Yesterday, Byank accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter while bursting in tears inside of the court room. He also pleaded guilty to unlawful fleeing a police officer in the third degree, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, driving without a valid driver’s license, two counts of speeding, failing to keep right, crossing over a double yellow line, overtaking on the left and failing to exhibit a valid certificate of inspection.
Suffolk County Judge C. Randall Hinrichs said that on his sentencing date of July 18, he will give out a sentence of 2.5 to 7.5 years with a maximum of 3 to 9 years.
Justice will be served to Byank, but it is the type of justice that is unsatisfying. Simply put, putting this guy in jail doesn’t make me feel any better about any of this. If I were a relative of his girlfriend’s, I don’t think I could ever forgive this guy for what he did, even though it was an accident.