A Florida man recently convicted of vehicular homicide in a distracted driving case that led to new texting and driving laws in our statewas given the maximum sentence on Thursday.
Investigative reporter Katie Lagrone was in the courtroom for the sentencing that the young victim’s family has been waiting nearly seven years for. It's the first texting and driving case to go to trial in the state.
Gregory Andriotis, 40, will spend 30 years in prison for a deadly crash he caused after using his cell phone behind the wheel. The crash killed 9-year-old Logan Scherer and seriously injured his parents and his little sister.
The judge called his actions a conscious disregard for life, saying, “it’s a choice not to pay attention."
Hours before the sentencing in Hernando County on Thursday, Andriotis, a husband and father of two, spoke publicly for the first time since the 2016 crash. He apologized to Brooke and Jordan Scherer for causing the wreck that killed their little boy instantly.
“I wish more than anything that I could change what happened that day. I would gladly trade places with him if it meant he would live," Andriotis said. "Logan deserved to live a full life. I took that away from him and I took him away from you."
Andriotis slammed into the back of the family’s SUV while they were parked in traffic on I-75 near Brooksville. Investigators determined he was going nearly 80 miles per hour before impact. The force pushed six cars some 76 feet.
But for the Scherers, whose tragedy helped inspire Florida’s current texting and driving law, Andriotis’ courtroom apology doesn’t change what they’ve lost.
“We cannot sit idly by and diminish the life of our young son…we won’t stand for it," Jordan Scherer said.
While the case represents the first cell phone-related distracted driving crash case to go to trial in Florida, the jury’s guilty verdict and vehicular homicide charge are also considered a nationwide first — creating a new legal precedent for deadly crashes caused by cell phone-related distracted drivers.
Florida man found guilty in distracted driving case that killed 9-year-old boy
"Most of the families, the person walks away. Sometimes they even keep their driver's license. We need serious consequences, just like drunk driving and distracted driving is killing families," said Jennifer Smith with stopdistractions.org.
For the Scherers, Thursday’s sentencing brought tears and peace.
"It’s surreal, it’s surreal. I finally took a breath for the first time in seven years," Brooke Scherer said.
It's the beginning of a new phase of a movement they all hope Logan will be proud of.
"This will help. That’s what we set out to do; that’s what we’re doing, right? And Logan guided our way and he will continue to guide the way for many, many others," Brooke said.
"I know that he will be proud to see that we worked hard, that it's happened. I know he would be really happy," Logan's sister Mallory said.
The 30-year maximum sentence includes 15 years for Logan’s death and another five years for each of the three reckless driving charges that caused Logan’s parents and his younger sister to sustain serious injuries in the crash.