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Man sentenced for giving alcohol to teen who died

October 25, 2000

Man sentenced for giving alcohol to teen who died



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Waynesboro, Pa., man charged with furnishing alcohol to minors in connection with the death of a teenager last year was sentenced to six months in the county jail and one year probation Wednesday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

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Richard A. Gossert, 37, of 46 N. Church St., apologized to the family and friends of Seth Warford, 16, who was killed when he was run over last fall after consuming grain alcohol Gossert provided.

Judge John Walker sentenced Gossert on two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors to six months in the Franklin County Prison's work-release program and one year probation. He also must pay $2,000 in fines.

Walker told Gossert his sentence was above the standard guidelines because of his age and because his actions led to a fatality.

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"You have three children of your own and you are buying grain alcohol for youths," Walker said. "I gave you jail time so you will be in prison over Christmas. I want you to miss your family.

"But your family can come see you," Walker said. "If Seth's parents want to see him they have to go to a cemetery and hug a cold tombstone."

About two dozen of Seth's family members and friends were in the courtroom when Seth's father read a statement to the court.

"Seth was a good boy who made a bad choice. He would not have had to make the choice if it was not for Gossert," Warford read. "He was cheated out of his life. We trust other adults will be responsible and help our children make good choices."

Warford addressed some of his final comments toward Gossert. "Why didn't you bring Seth home? What were you thinking?"

Gossert apologized and said his life had "spun out of control" at the time of the accident.

"I am very sorry for my actions," Gossert said.

He said he has been free of drugs and alcohol for the last year.

According to court records, Gossert provided Seth and a 15-year-old girl with grain alcohol throughout the day on Nov. 14. At 7:05 p.m., Seth, of 216 W. Fourth St., was killed when he was run over on South Potomac Street near the Fourth Street intersection.

The southbound driver saw him lying in the northbound lane, stopped and tried to wave off northbound traffic, but Seth was struck by two cars, according to records.

The cause of death was a blow to the head, but an autopsy showed that he was intoxicated at the time of his death. His blood alcohol level was 0.21 percent, more than twice the legal limit for intoxication in Pennsylvania, according to court records.

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