CORAM - The man accused of driving while high and causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist was offered a plea deal Monday for four to eight years behind bars.
Family and friends of Tom Heissenbuttel packed a Riverhead courtroom Monday after they initially heard that the deal offered to Sabelo Ndala would be three to six years.
As News 12 has reported, police say Ndala was high on marijuana and was on probation from a previous DWI conviction when the crash happened on Old Town Road in Coram last November.
The victim’s friends said that the situation is even harder because Heissenbuttel was a member of Long Island ABATE, an organization that promotes road safety between cars and motorcycles.
"He devoted his free time to try [to] help other motorcyclists stay safe and for people to be aware and to watch for people like this on the road," says Jim Barr, of Long Island ABATE.
Heissenbuttel's widow called the initial plea deal of three to six years a slap in the face. The judge in the case reconsidered the sentence, saying Ndala's alleged crimes deserved more prison time.
Even though the four to eight-year deal is not the offer Regina Heissenbuttel wanted, she says it's closer to justice for the death of her husband. Friends say they'll also petition the judge in Ndala's probation violation case for additional time.
Ndala's attorney was not available for comment after court Monday.
The judge says Ndala will have to make a decision on accepting the new plea deal or going to trial by July 28.