In February 2016, Rhett Boheler at age 17 posted a Snapchat video of himself smoking drugs while driving. The video was posted just minutes before Boheler smashed into a York County pine tree at 75 mph, prosecutors said.
Boheler's two best friends died in the crash. Another passenger was injured.
Boheler, now 20, said Tuesday in court he loved his friends.
"I would trade places with them if I could," Boheler said. "I never meant to harm anybody, much less the people who meant the most to me. I will live with this for as long as I live."
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But the words came too late for Boheler to trade places.
Judge Dan Hall said to Boheler: "You said you had a deep love for your friends but you had a deep love for drugs."
Hall sentenced Boheler to 15 years in prison Tuesday after Boheler pleaded guilty in October to two counts of felony DUI resulting in death and one count of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury. The sentence was negotiated by Boheler's lawyer and prosecutors after Boheler suffered a broken pelvis and other injuries and has undergone extensive physical therapy and several operations, testimony showed.
Boheler will be disabled the rest of his life, his lawyer Gary Lemel said.
Shemar Byers, 18, and Dominick Galsoi, 17, passengers in the SUV Boheler was driving, died in the Feb. 5, 2016, crash. Brooke Blanton, 18 at the time and a third passenger, suffered a broken neck and back, said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor.
"These were lovely young people with bright futures," Thompson said of the victims.
Boheler was "highly under the influence" of methamphetamine, marijuana and Xanax when he hit the tree with such force that the engine block was pushed into the passenger compartment of the car, killing Galsoi and Byers, said Matthew Shelton, 16th Ciorcuit assistant solicitor.
Prosecutors Shelton and Thompson said the deaths were the "tragic result" of Boheler's use of drugs. He was driving after three arrests for DUI in Cherokee County magistrate court while just 17 years old.
However, Boheler had not been convicted of those previous DUI arrests at the time of the fatal crash, testimony showed. Boheler has since pleaded guilty to two of those DUI charges, testimony and court records show.
"This was a horrible consequence of terrible choices made by the defendant," Shelton said.
Byers mother Dyyetta Studyvance said in court her son was planning to go to Clemson to play basketball and then try for the NBA.
"My son's last words to me were 'I love you momma,' " she said in court.
Galsoi's mother Donna Fowlkes said an older son, Christopher Fowlkes, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2009.
Both mothers said in court they did not hate Boheler, but his drug use and choice to drive caused their sons to lose their lives and futures.