Driver in deadly NE Fresno crash that killed teen sentenced to 12 years in prison

'Not only did he take... my only child away from me, he took my hopes, he took my dreams, and he took being a father away from me'

Brittany Jacob Image
Thursday, July 28, 2022
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A memorial still sits at Chestnut and Nees where James Anderson ran a red light and crashed into 19-year-old Carson Gates' car, killing him.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A man accused of running a red light in northeast Fresno and killing a teen in 2020 was sentenced to 12 years in court on Wednesday.

James Anderson not only faced the judge, but also friends and family of the victim, 19-year-old Carson Gates.

A memorial still sits at the intersection of Chestnut and Nees where Gates was killed in the crash.

RELATED: Mother says she forgives man accused of killing her son in DUI accident

Carson's family read their impact statements with the court in Carson's memory.

Four people - the victims' father, aunts, and girlfriend all recounted that horrific day and the devastation it left behind.

"It has been nothing short of devastation, mentally paralyzing, and soul-crushing beyond repair," said Richard Gates, Carson's father.

He remembers the last day he saw his son.

He raised his son as a single parent, saying Carson gave him purpose.

"Not only did he take my son and my only child away from me, he took my hopes, he took my dreams, and he took being a father away from me," Richard Gates said.

The victim's aunt, Rhiannon Maloney, also spoke in court:

"He stole a beautiful soul from this world, he robbed Carson of a future, he is the reason Richard will never have grandkids."

Carson's girlfriend, who was driving at the time of the accident, survived.

In court, she was grief-stricken and couldn't finish her statement.

James Anderson was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter for driving under the influence.

On Wednesday, Anderson was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Carson's aunt Lisa Bawcum asked the court for Anderson's maximum sentence in her impact statement, pointing to Anderson's involvement in another accident the same day.

"Instead of using it as an opportunity to realize the danger he posed driving in the state he was in, he chose to continue to drive recklessly without regard for anyone," she said.

The defendant had no words.

As tears rolled down his face, his attorney spoke on his behalf, saying Anderson was extremely remorseful.

"Nothing that happens to him from now until the end of time is going to change that he's taken your son's life. He's a broken person," the attorney said.

Anderson's attorney also said his client had a letter for the court, but they felt Wednesday's timing was not appropriate to read it.

Carson's dad said his son would have been 22 years old two months from now.