The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Sunday May 26th

Drunk driver in fatal TCNJ crash sentenced to 12 years in prison

David Lamar was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Nov. 8 for the fatal car crash that killed Michael Sot and severely injured five other students on Dec. 2, 2018.

On the night of the collision, Lamar swerved into oncoming traffic while trying to pass other cars, crossed the double-yellow lines and hit the vehicle that Sot was driving head-on. Lamar had been drinking at the now-closed Landmark Americana Tap & Grill on the night of the crash. Sot was the designated driver for his friends as a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. 

“Based on my analysis of the facts in this case, my review of all the information that’s been presented to me, I have made the determination that the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors,” Judge Janetta D. Marbrey said as the court imposed the recommended sentence in accordance with the plea agreement. 

Lamar had pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree assault by auto and one count of second-degree death by auto at a virtual hearing on June 11, 2021. The original sentencing hearing was scheduled for Sept. 13, but was pushed back to Nov. 8. 

At the June 11 hearing, Marbrey explained that the maximum sentence was 20 years in jail and $180,000 in fines. However, in a plea agreement arranged by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Grillo, Lamar was to serve 12 years in prison — six years in state prison under the No Early Release Act for the second-degree charge and two consecutive three-year terms for the third-degree charges.  

Lamar’s defense attorney, Robin Lord, pursued a reduced sentence as indicated in prior hearings. Lord cited alleged remorse Lamar has for his actions, however, the families do not believe Lamar’s regret is genuine. 

“I’ve looked into his hollow eyes and his empty frame several times and let me tell you, I’m pissed that it was him who caused my son’s death,” said Candice Buno-Sot, mother of Michael Sot.

The sentencing was the culmination of more than two years of an ongoing judicial process that was initiated after Lamar killed Sot and severely injured five other students after operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content almost three times the legal limit. 


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