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Teen driver in deadly car-surfing accident avoids jail time after victim’s parents support him

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KENT, Wash. -- The teenage driver behind a deadly car-surfing accident that killed his friend was sentenced to probation and no jail time Friday -- the outcome that even the victim's parents were seeking.

Tyler Rebar, 19, who pleaded guilty, says he's full of remorse.

"It hurts me every day and know what I did to my friend. It holds me in my dreams, in the day," he said.

Police say Lupo Benson, 18, climbed on the hood of Rebar's car in the Kent-Meridian High School parking lot last March -- then fell off when Rebar made a sudden turn. Benson never recovered from his injuries.

Prosecutors considered charging Rebar with vehicular homicide -- but, in a surprising turn, Benson's family stepped in.

"We felt this was not criminal-in-nature sort of thing, that bad decisions were made," mother Christine Benson said.

The victim's parents wrote letters of support to the judge so that their son's friend wouldn't go to jail.

"This is something Tyler will remember the rest of his life, he will carry the guilt the rest of his life and we felt that that was the most horrible of sentences that you could possibly have," Christine Benson said.

Rebar said he owes  his friend's grieving parents his life.

"I cannot express enough thanks to them and the people with them that have supported me and helped me get through this."

The judge said, "I hope you make good use of your life. That would be the greatest gift to Lupo's parents."

Rebar was sentenced to serve two years probation and he's not allowed to get behind the wheel for one year.