Former FDNY firefighter sentenced in fatal wrong-way drunk driving crash on the Sunken Meadow
A former FDNY firefighter was sentenced Wednesday in a fatal wrong-way drunk driving crash.
Joseph Norris, of Babylon, was sentenced to five to 15 years for aggravated homicide and vehicular manslaughter for the crash that killed Anthony Mariano, who was a teacher in Queens, on the Sunken Meadow Parkway in November 2020.
MORE: Former NYC firefighter pleads guilty to wrong-way drunk driving crash that killed man on Sunken Meadow Parkway
Norris fought back tears as acting State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Braslow condemned him for the crash.
"You basically, surely, killed Anthony Mariano as if your car became a gun and you blew that bomb up," Braslow said.
Norris, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, also lost both of his legs in the crash, and was found to have a blood alcohol level of .29. He pleaded guilty back in May and the sentence was part of a plea agreement.
Norris begged Mariano's family for forgiveness, saying, "If I could trade place with Anthony, I would."
Mariano's family spoke about their loss before the sentencing.
The victim's father, Vincent Mariano, looked straight at Norris and said, "You're a despicable human. You killed a part of me."
Norris's attorney, Anthony LaPinta, called the sentencing "a very, very difficult day."
"Heart-wrenching to say the least," LaPinta says. "I wish nothing but healing, peace for the Mariano family. For the Norris family, I commend you for your strength."
Norris will serve the sentences concurrently. He will be eligible for parole in five years.
Mariano's parents and fiancée say they will fight to keep Norris behind bars for the full 15 years.