By Rick Sallinger

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – A 17-year-old, driving while high on marijuana when his car struck and killed another teenage boy, was sentenced to two years in youth corrections on Friday.

Both the father of the victim and the 17th Judicial District Attorney blamed marijuana for what happened.

The Broomfield courtroom was crowded with family and friends of the victim. They wore buttons reading “Justice for Chad” for Chad Britton, 16. The teen was his father’s best friend before he was killed.

Lonnie Britton is hugged at the sentencing for the driver who killed his son (credit: CBS)

Lonnie Britton is hugged at the sentencing for the driver who killed his son (credit: CBS)

With tears rolling down his cheek Lonnie Britton spoke of his boy, “He was a beautiful soul. He’d do anything for anyone.”

It was normal day at Broomfield High School in November 2014 when Chad went to his car during lunch. Another teen was in this car, so high on marijuana his friends warned him not to drive. Chad was struck and killed.

The crash scene in Broomfield in Nov. 2014 (credit: CBS)

The crash scene in Broomfield in Nov. 2014 (credit: CBS)

A witness at the time told CBS4, “He was putting stuff in the back of his car and the other kid wasn’t paying attention and just hit him.”

In juvenile court, family and friends tried to hold back the tears but failed. It was an emotional sentencing as the driver of the car, Brandon Cullip, was sentenced to two years in youth corrections. Cullip pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in February.

Cullip had obtained his driver’s license just six days before when the accident occurred. Britton’s father told the judge he had “a hole in his heart that will never be mended and he blamed his son’s death in part on legalized pot.

“I think this was probably the worst thing that could happen to the state of Colorado, passing the marijuana law,” Lonnie Britton said.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young (credit: CBS)

When recreational pot was legalized in Colorado there was fear about this very sort of thing happening. Dave Young, the District Attorney for the 17th Judicial District covering Adams and Broomfield counties, told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger “The legalization of marijuana has supplied marijuana to kids and our youth and i don’t think it’s going to be the last time we have a tragedy like this because of marijuana.”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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