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10 Years' Probation For NFL Player Who Caused Fatal Crash

Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent, who was drunk in December 2012 when the car he was driving crashed and his passenger — teammate Jerry Brown Jr. — was killed, was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail, a $10,000 fine and 10 years of probation.

The Dallas Morning News writes that:

"After reading the sentence, state District Judge Robert Burns scolded Brent for his actions.

" 'You are not the first Dallas Cowboy to kill someone with a vehicle,' the judge said, 'but I hope you're the last.' "

He could have been sent to prison for up to 20 years. The same jury that convicted Brent, 25, of "intoxication manslaughter" earlier this week determined his punishment.

Brent, the Morning News reminds us, "had a blood alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit to drive, and was driving at least 110 mph on an Irving service road when he flipped his white Mercedes. Neither man wore a seat belt and the momentum of the crash threw Brown on top of Brent and cushioned Brent from serious injury."

As Morning Edition reported at the time, Brown's death was one of two tragedies to hit the NFL in rapid succession. It came just one week after a murder-suicide involving a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Cowboys were criticized after the crash for allowing Brent to be on the sidelines with the team at the next game after the crash. this week reposted a compelling look at the lives of Brent and Brown, and how they seemingly did not learn from previous tragedies.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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