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Posted at 05:40 PM ET, 04/20/2012

Judges cut Kevin Coffay’s sentence in Md. drunk-driving case to 8 years

A panel of Montgomery County judges dramatically reduced the prison sentence of a drunk driver who killed three of his friends in a crash last year, saying he had been improperly held responsible for a much broader culture of reckless conduct and underage drinking.

The three judges cut 12 years from Kevin Coffay’s 20-year sentence. Under Maryland rules, he is eligible for parole as early as May of next year, according to prosecutors. The ruling outraged the families of those killed.

Here is the Post’s complete story on the panel’s ruling and the Friday hearing.

Coffay, now 21, pleaded guilty in January to three counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of failing to remain at the scene of a potentially fatal crash.

He was in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Friday in hopes of convincing a three-judge panel to reduce his 20-year prison sentence.

Maryland law allows defendants to contest their sentences without taking the matter to an appeals court. Even with a sentence of 20 years, Coffay could be released on parole as early as his 26th birthday.

Early in the morning of May 15, 2011, Coffay was one of five people who climbed into a car after a night of partying and drinking. About 3 a.m., Coffay slammed the Toyota Corolla into a tree.

Coffay crawled out from behind an airbag and slipped into the woods. Police and tracking dogs found him hours later and miles away, his blood-alcohol level still double the legal limit for driving.

Spencer Datt, 18; Haeley McGuire, 18; and Johnny Hoover, 20, all died in the crash. Coffay and another passenger, Charlie Nardella, 19, were the only survivors.

This Post has been updated.

Read more: The Post’s crime coverage

By  |  05:40 PM ET, 04/20/2012

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