Jesus Miguel Corrales was sentenced on Tuesday. The young Fresno man was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter.
Corrales sat quietly as he learned the price he will pay for a night of drinking and racing that took the life of close family friend Robert Vasquez.
The victim's brother, Anthony Estrada, took time to address Corrales.
"I just wanted to say this really affected my family, and it really affected me and my life," said Estrada.
In March 2012, police say Corrales was driving drunk when he decided to drag race in Southwest Fresno. He lost control and crashed.
Robert Vasquez, 18, was ejected from the car and died at the scene.
It was a death that tore two families apart, but nearly two years later, there was also a surprising message.
"And I just wanted to say he should get a second chance. He should get a second chance. We all make mistakes; we're not perfect," said Estrada.
Judge Jon Kapetan was amazed by the compassion shown by Vasquez's family, but said the matter was serious.
"I am sentencing him to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for the aggravated term of 10 years," said Kapetan.
In a letter to the court, Corrales apologized. His attorney, Franz Criego, says receiving forgiveness from Vasquez's family was powerful.
"My client was grateful. It doesn't happen often, but I think everybody recognizes that unfortunately it was an error, it was a mistake, but it's still criminal and something my client has to pay for," said Criego.
The Fresno County District Attorney's Office says the family still deals with their loss, but was satisfied with the judge's maximum sentence.
"It is a tragedy. We're trying our best to diminish the effect of these types of cases in Fresno County," said Deputy District Attorney Trevor Oppliger.