LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – An East Palestine teen who killed his passenger in a fatal drunk-driving crash in Columbiana County was taken away from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Jacob Chamberlain was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday for his role in the death of 18-year-old Timothy Walton. In addition, his driver’s license was suspended for life. He received the maximum sentence allowed in the case.
In November, Chamberlain pleaded guilty to seven charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide.
Chamberlain was driving the vehicle that killed Walton, just days before he was set to graduate from Crestview High School in May of 2016.
The crash happened in Unity Township after Chamberlain, who investigators said had been drinking, drove off of the side of the roadway. The vehicle then hit a ditch and a tree before overturning. Walton was in the passenger seat and died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Chamberlain left the scene and didn’t call police. He was 18 at the time of the crash.
For the first time, Walton’s parents addressed Chamberlain in the courtroom.
“The fact that he was friends with my son and just left him out there in the dark, that’s not a friend,” said Rachel Zubay, Walton’s mother.
Walton’s father, Brian Zubay, told the court he was robbed of precious time with his son because of Chamberlain’s actions.
“You robbed me of time to be up there with my son, to be the one holding his hand while he took his last breath. You took that from me,” Zubay said.
Another friend, Tyler Barnes was in the backseat of Chamberlain’s car when the crash happened. He suffered severe injuries that still affect him to this day. His mother addressed Chamberlain on his behalf.
“I don’t know if a jail sentence of any length will make him feel some sense of responsibility. I can only hope that he will use the time to reflect, to feel sorry,” Barnes said.
Before being sentenced, Chamberlain briefly addressed the judge and apologized.
“I want to apologize and promise everyone that I will make a positive change,” Chamberlain said.
The Zubay family said they can breathe a sigh of relief now that Chamberlain is behind bars, but the pain of losing their son will never fade.
“I think what hurts the most is that he never got to meet his son,” said Rachel Zubay.