PORTLAND, Ore. -- A young man accused of driving drunk in a crash that killed his friend faced a standing room crowd as he appeared in court Tuesday.
The crowd was full of the victim's family, but they weren't here to condemn 21-year-old Brad Lindsey. They were there to support him.
Early Sunday morning, Police say Brad Lindsey was driving drunk in Gresham, according to police. His best friend, Jamell Taylor was in the passenger seat.
Witnesses say Lindsey crashed the van into an electric pole.
Although Lindsey turned himself into police, a witness said he left the scene.
"The driver took a hike and left his friend or acquaintance in the van dead, " said witness Georgette Klein.
The Taylor family doesn't want to see Lindsey in jail. In fact, it's quite the opposite. They want all the charges dropped.
"Now it's not losing one member of the family. It's losing two, " said Rashad Taylor, Jamell's cousin.
"He's suffering enough. He has to carry that guilt for the rest of his life and Jamell wouldn't want that, " said Brandy Taylor, Jamell's sister.
The family could have an uphill fight. Lindsey is charged with manslaughter in the second degree. It's a Measure 11 offense that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six years and 3 months.
Advocates for stiffer drunk driving laws say anything less would send the wrong message. "People need to be held accountable for criminal actions and driving under the influence is a criminal action," said Anne Pratt of Crime Victims United.
Taylor's family plans to beg the prosecutor for mercy.
"That was Jamell's best friend and we know that Brad didn't do this on purpose,."
While prosecutors say they will listen to the Taylor family, the law is the law. But the Taylor's refuse to give up this fight.
"Stay strong, " family members yelled as Lindsey left the courtroom.
Bail was set for $250,000.