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Drunk driver who crashed stolen van, killing passenger, given 20-year sentence in Boston court

A Dorchester man who was driving drunk when he crashed a stolen van, killing his passenger, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after he was convicted of manslaughter in Suffolk Superior Court, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said today.

Warren Tyler was convicted Tuesday of manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide, but Judge Jeffrey Locke dismissed the motor vehicle homicide charge on technical legal grounds and sentenced Tyler only for manslaughter.

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Tyler, 47, was behind the wheel of a stolen van when he crashed near Harrison Avenue and East Berkeley Street in the South End around 12:20 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2010. His passenger, Johnny Williams Jr., was killed on impact.

Tyler’s blood-alcohol level was .14 percent, above the state’s legal limit of .08, according to Conley’s office. He allegedly told responding Boston police officers, “Dude, I’m drunk.’’ Police also recovered vodka bottles inside a bag with Tyler’s personal papers.

Locke imposed the maximum on Tyler allowed by state law, 20 years imprisonment, after hearing a victim impact statement from Williams’s brother, Jerome Williams, according to Conley’s office.

“Nothing in this world right now could make me feel any better than him being here,” Williams’s younger brother told the court. “He was a strong guy. We always ran to him for help. He was always there for us.”

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