Father Pleads Guilty to Role in Teens’ Death

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HONESDALE -- A man pleaded guilty on Thursday in Wayne County to criminal charges after he allowed his 15-year-old daughter to drive his SUV without a license and ended up in a crash that killed three young friends.

Michael Ware from Scarsdale, New York could face up to 21 years in prison.

"Very sorry, very sorry."

Those are the first words Ware has said publicly about the whole ordeal when three teenagers were killed in a car that his daughter was driving.

Ware pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter and three more for reckless endangerment for his role in their deaths.

Prosecutors say Ware allowed his daughter, Julia Ware, 15, to drive his SUV last summer. She crashed the vehicle on Goose Pond Road near Hamlin, killing Ryan Lesher, Shamus Digney, and Cullen Keffer, all from Bucks County. All were about to begin their sophomore year at Council Rock High School.

"I'm very pleased this defendant took responsibility for the crimes that were charged and I'm very happy that we get to move forward for the families sake," said Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards.

In April, Julia Ware admitted she drove without a license and was sentenced to probation, possibly until she's 21. On top of that, Ware was sentenced to community service and was required to write apology letters and pay thousands of dollars in restitution.

Family members of the victims say they're relieved this part of the process is over, but there's still justice left to be had.

"Hopefully we get justice on this case because we didn't get it on the other case," said Ed Lesher, the father of one of the victims. "She got away with everything and hopefully he doesn't. That's all I can say."

Lesher has watched all these court proceedings unfold over the past year and says he hopes people learn a lesson from all this.

"Don't drive without a license and slow down if people tell you to slow down. That's all there is to it."

Ware will be formally sentenced in Wayne County in August.


  • sickofitall

    I can’t believe this father allowed his daughter to drive without a license. I guess he felt the need to spoil his little princess and give her everything she wants so she doesn’t throw a temper tantrum and accuse him of not loving her! Also, it’s scary in a way becuase in one little year, she would be driving legally, and would she really be a more responsible driver in one year? It’s too bad the boys didn’t think twice before getting in the car with her. They were only in 9th grade, God Bless their Souls.

    • Mark

      Could it be that his daughter actually took the car for a joy ride without his knowledge and he’s taking the fall for her? It could be anything, since all the witnesses are dead.

  • Nicole

    If that father gets 21 years in prison, his daughter will have to not only live with the fact that she killed her 3 friends but also the fact that she is partially responsible for her father being incarcerated. It’s still ultimately his responsibility, but I’m sure she’ll think about this for the rest of her life!

  • Chris

    He deserves years in jail. He let a 15 year old without a license drive. If he wouldn’t have given her permission to drive the boys would still be alive. The girl driver should’ve got more than a slap on the wrist. My heart goes out to the families of the boys who lost their lives.

  • Chet

    The prosecutors in Wayne County should be called on the carpet by the voters. That 16 year old girl gets a slap on the wrist, no detention, yet those three young men are gone forever. She isn’t being held responsible for her actions. Terrible decision by prosecutors, lets hope the judge sees fit to give her a real sentence .

  • PamBarret

    I just feel sad for all involved. It doesn’t seem right he can go to jail 21 years when the girl who did it didn’t even get in jail.

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