Otego man sentenced for crash in Pittsfield that killed two

Shane Santiago listens to victim-impact statements prior to sentencing at Otsego County Courthouse on Monday, Sept. 27, in Cooperstown. (Kevin Limiti/AllOtsego.com).

Otego man sentenced
for crash in Pittsfield
that killed two

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN An Otego man was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison on Monday, Sept. 27, for second degree manslaughter related to the July 15, 2020, crash that killed two people in Pittsfield on county Route 13.

Tehya Gonzalez and Cheyenn Aubry were passengers in his Santiago’s car, which drove off the road at 85 miles an hour, killing them both. Santiago survived and was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Santiago sat with his head in his hand as victim impact statements were read by District Attorney John Muehl.

One of the statements read by Muehl was written by Kristi Kelly on behalf of the family of Tehya Gonzalez, one of the women who died as a result of the crash.

“On the early morning of July 15, 2020, our families’ lives were changed forever,” Kelly’s statement read. “A mother lost her daughter, her sisters and brother lost a sibling, her young nephew and niece lost their aunt. … Tehya was only 22 years old and had so much life left to live. Since Tehya’s passing, her four year old nephew and two year old niece have had to learn about death and heaven and now look up to the sky daily, to watch their angel flying. This is an awful tragedy, a senseless tragedy, that no family should ever have to experience. All because of the reckless and careless actions of Shane Santiago.”

Kelly Graven also spoke about the loss Gonzalez’s mother felt, and said the “shock, confusion and sadness of that day has not left us.”

“Life will never be the same without Tehya here,” Graven’s statement read. “The impact on the lives of her family is literally beyond words and I’m so sad feeling no matter what I say, it will feel inadequate. Two beautiful, vibrant young women have been taken by another person’s selfishly reckless actions. I hope and I pray that no other person ever has to suffer what this family has.”

Santiago declined to offer any statement before sentencing was handed down.

12 thoughts on “Otego man sentenced for crash in Pittsfield that killed two

  1. HEATHER Deane LUM

    Well where do I begin. As Cheyenn’s aunt I was there today and no once did he look our way. He did not meet the eyes of the girls mothers. He did not say sorry. He said nothing. He showed no remorse for taking the girls life. For taking Cheynne from her daughter. The only thing we got were dirty looks from who I am guessing is his mother and aunt. We sat there and got to listen to them tell him how much they love him. That’s true apparently but what about Heather May and Angela Fagan? Or Chey’s dad Andre? What about her daughter? We want to tell the girls we love them too but we don’t get that chance. We get nothing. This picture was all for show. If he was truly sorry he would have said so. Where was everyone when we were crying? No one was there rubbing our backs. This picture should have been on the victims or there family’s not him. He gets to live.

  2. Rebecca livingston

    Justice was not served today. A man received a sentence that reflected “a buy one get one free deal” And anybody that took part in making that happen should hang their heads in shame. People like the district attorney, John Muel (you are weak), people who continue to support a flawed justice system (yous continue to make it about political numbers and pressure those in political seats to do what is favored by others in higher political seats and not what is right or just for those who sit in no political seat. Those who sit in their empty childrens rooms and cry endless tears because those rooms will be infinitely empty. Someone else wrote the ending to their stories and then someone else (like a judge) said “hey, that’s wrong, but not that wrong, so let’s just make a deal”….does 4-12 years for killing 2 young ladies sound okay to you Mr.Santiago? I mean its basically, you pay for 1 and we will throw the other one in for free). Its as simple as this…a man got into a vehicle with 2 young ladies, drove 35 mph over the speed limit, couldn’t control his vehicle, went off the road and crashed, his passengers took their last breath because he killed them both, he ended up with minor injuries, minor bail, a minor sentence, and reflective of his sentence the lives of those young ladies were minor too!!!!

  3. Anonymous

    4 to 12 years that’s it. Call that justice that’s not shit he took to innocent lives he deserves a lot more than that The justice system in this county sucks hopefully he don’t make it out of prison

  4. Brett

    What he got was lucky he should be in prison for life for what he did to them girls. I only knew one of the girls ( Chey) but I still feel sorry and upset for the other girls family. Shane is a monster and knew what he was doing that night and I hope he has nightmares about his actions and has to live with that the rest of his life . I knew Shane personally and he is a dirt bag and cares about nothing but himself. And when or if he gets out whoever he dates I hope they realize quick who he is for there safety so he can’t do it again. Because the friends and family of them two girls will never have the chance to say goodbye. Cheys little girl is now gonna have to grow up without her mom because of what Shane did. And to Shane’s family who showed no empathy towards them two girls families your just as sick as he is.. I drive by that site Everytime I go to work and all I can see is them two beautiful young ladies laying there lifeless because of Shane. So he got lucky he didn’t get life but let me say this karma will come for him.. R.I.P CHEY AND TEHYA.

  5. Grave

    Wow he does show remorse… he has done nothing but cry for the last 14 months and the woman you say gave you dirty looks would be my sister and mother which I don’t believe they did my mom loves the lord and does not give anyone dirty looks and they do love Shane as I do and my family will be there for Shane as he pays for his mistake we all are sorry for your lose if he could change things he would .. WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE

  6. Debra Dello

    Tehya one of my first children. She has a twin. Those two girls had the love of twins, now one is gone. I never see her get married and have a child . She wanted her own child and she was waiting for the right time.’ He robbed her of that and robbed us of her. I never will forget that call I got at 7:30am. Her mother calling me and say she never wanted to make this call to me and let me know my beautiful granddaughter lost her life at the hand of someone else. I have lost so many lives it’s leaves you numb and I pray people grow up and stop all this way of life before it’s to late. You can’t take back the past only make your future the best it can be.

  7. Christine (swift) Fassett

    I held my 23 year old son the morning he brought his daughter to me and said “she’s dead momma “ my heart still breaks for him and our baby girl every day. She’s going to know her mom through her family’s, but it will never be the same. Cheyenn is watching over her baby, but none of their first’s will ever happen for them. Thank god she has the best father in the world.

  8. Christine (swift) Fassett

    Devastating sentence? How much more devastating can you get than “mom she’s dead !” That morning will forever be with me when I held my adult son and his daughter. Cheyenn is watching over her, but she will miss all the first’s they should share. Both family’s will help her know her mother, she will never be forgotten, her baby shouldn’t have to look into heaven to say “I love you momma “

  9. Dick

    The real tragedy doesn’t lie with the justice system or just the loss of life, it’s the families of all involved. An accident happened, I’m sure it was not his intentions to wake up and decide to have a car accident and take the lives of 2 young girls.
    These post talk about loss and sadness. And me personally would like to say I’m sorry for your loss. Nothing can fill the void you now feel!! As for Mr Santiago? Well even if he didn’t show it I’m sure he’s hurting just as much and feels the pain he caused! I don’t condone what he did, but understand his pain, it may not be visible but believe me it’s there!!
    To the family’s of the lost, my prayers are with you, may God ease your pain and sorrow. For he is the father of all!!

  10. Paula

    I’ve read all these posts. I completely understand how each of the people involved feel. I lost my nephew at the age of 17 from a car accident and he was driving with his girlfriend and their good friend as well. They all died, and as someone else said, “he didn’t set out that day thinking, oh I guess it’s my day to have an accident and kill his friends, infusing himself. He was fortunate to have survived. I feel so much pain for the families of those 2 girls, and I am so sorry this has happened. I knew Shane as a young boy. He was sweet kid and very caring. I didn’t know the girls, but I have other family who did, and they all feel same as most of you do. I know everyone is hurting and this will always hurt, but one day I hope you can find it in your heart for forgiveness, in order to enlighten your heart from the negativity. You are already heavy with pain, negative thoughts, such as hate, and emptiness. To say you hope he doesn’t make it out of prison is an awful thing to wish upon someone. That makes you worse then6 him. He didn’t wish death in anyone. It was an accident that could have been prevented if he were being more mature and responsible. For that he is guilty. Again, I do very sorry for the families who have to go through this loss. I didn’t only lose my nephew; I just lost my 22 year old niece early this year she I am still grieving for her. God is with us all. For the families who have lost their loved ones you will be in my prayers, and again, I am so sorry this has happened to you.

  11. Helen

    What a tragedy. I pray for everyone involved. I hope the surviving can read this and be blessed….

    Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.– 1 Peter 4:8
    And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.– Mark 11:25

    I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.— T. D. Jakes

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