Charles Davis and William Smith were best friends. They were young, hard-working men who enjoyed the outdoors and spending time with family and friends together.

Charles Davis and William Smith were best friends. They were young, hard-working men who enjoyed the outdoors and spending time with family and friends together.

On April 29, the friends and a few others were at a campfire and jumped in a truck to spin around in an open field and do “doughnuts,” said Smith’s attorney, Joseph Pelych of Hornell.

The truck flipped and Davis, 20, of Wellsville, died at the scene, Amity-based State Police said. The field was off Murphy-Mulvey Road, which is off County Road 29 in Alma and Smith had to run to the nearest area where he could get cell service.

Smith, 21, of Alma, was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, but entered a guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, both Class C felonies.

During sentencing on Friday morning in Allegany County Court, Judge James Euken said, “In 10 years as a public defender, 13 years as a district attorney and 10 years as a judge, we’ve had a lot of cases where good kids are together and drinking and one dies. ALL cases I can remember, the sentence includes jail.”

However, Davis’ family requested to Allegany County District Attorney Terrence Parker and to the Allegany County Probation Department that Smith would not face any jail time.

   

“I understand this was on a field and not on a public highway, and there was a strong push by the victim’s family for no jail time,” said Euken during sentencing. “For those reasons, I will not impose a jail sentence.”

Smith was sentenced to five years probation, six months on electronic home monitoring, 140 hours of community service, has to attend the victim impact panel and he is not to drive, other than a vehicle on the grounds where he works.

When court was closed, the Davis family approached the Smith family and they all embraced. The families chose not to speak during sentencing.

   

Pelych explained both kids came from great families. The Davis family said in the probation report that the pain Smith has to endure is enough.

“William has never been arrested, he’s gainfully employed, he’s never been in trouble with the law and on a night he was out with friends at a campfire, drinking beer, he made a bad choice by getting in a truck and doing doughnuts,” he said. “It’s a choice he has to live with forever.

“He comes a great family — they’re both great families — this is just one of life’s tragedies ... this is a good kid who has to live with this.”

   

Parker said he read over the probation report and listened to the Davis family and agreed probation was enough of a sentence.

Parker also quoted one of the troopers involved in the case.

“He was at the scene and he said there is very little likelihood William Smith will ever be a problem in the criminal justice system.”