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Jul 18, 2012 12:58 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Motorcyclist Sentenced In Death Of Fiancee On Napeague

Jul 24, 2012 7:38 PM

Matthew Byank, 21, of Manorville was sentenced on July 18 to three to nine years in prison in connection with the death of his fiancée on Montauk Highway on Napeague on May 24, 2010. Mr. Byank had crashed his motorcycle into a utility pole while fleeing a police officer at a high rate of speed.

His passenger, Lauren M. Parris, 19, of Mastic Beach, was thrown from the bike and died of her injuries at Southampton Hospital. She was pregnant with his baby at the time.

Ms. Parris’s relatives had harsh words for Mr. Byank at the sentencing in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead.

“My family and all of Lauren’s friends, he destroyed all of those lives,” her father, Daniel Parris, told State Supreme Court Justice C. Randall Hinrichs. Mr. Parris talked about stroking his daughter’s hair and his wife, Patricia Parris, rocking her to sleep for years on end. “I never thought that I’d outlive my daughter,” he said.

More than two years after the accident, Mr. Parris said, a “discrepancy of 20 minutes” remains between the time when his daughter sent him a text saying a police officer was chasing the motorcycle and the time indicated on a police report filed after Mr. Byank lost control. “She’s the one who knows exactly what happened,” Mr. Parris said. The couple were on their way home from Montauk at roughly 9 p.m. when the officer attempted to pull Mr. Byank over for speeding and the chase began.

“I think you’re selfish for running,” Danielle Parris told Mr. Byank as he stood with his head bowed. “Instead of thinking about my sister that night, you ran. You took so much away from us.”

Some in the courtroom applauded, until a security guard asked them to stop. A handful of the victim’s friends were wearing white T-shirts bearing her picture along with a cross with angel wings and the words “In loving memory” and “Only the good die young.”

“I made a terrible choice that day,” Mr. Byank said. “I will never forget what happened for the rest of my life.”

He had pleaded guilty in May to manslaughter in the second degree, fleeing a police officer and other charges in a 10-count indictment. Judge Hinrichs had promised a sentencing cap of three to nine years in an upstate correctional facility.

While the assistant district attorney, Laurie Newcombe, said Mr. Byank had not shown remorse, the defense attorney, Daniel Barkert, said otherwise. Judge Hinrichs said that while the death of Ms. Parris had been “clearly unintentional,” it was also more than a “tragic accident.” The prison sentence, he said, was not “a measure of the magnitude of the loss.”

“Nothing can rise to the loss,” said Judge Hinrichs, who also said, “Everyone is dealing with the loss of this unborn child as well.”

In addition to the manslaughter charge, the judge sentenced Mr. Byank to two to seven years for fleeing a police officer and 30 days for driving without a license, all to run concurrently. He also revoked Mr. Parris’s license to drive.

“This is a cross he’s going to have to carry,” Patricia Parris, Lauren Parris’s mother, said after leaving the courtroom. She added that Mr. Byank’s sentence was “just the beginning.”

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The skell should spend the rest of his life behind bars!!!!
By johnnyhampton (82), Southampton on Jul 18, 12 10:17 PM
3 to 9 for being responsible for his own childs death, and that of a young lady? really? Is this what we as a society think is fair punishment?
I certainlt don't.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Jul 19, 12 12:17 PM