|Updated: 11/15/2012 8:28 pm
||Published: 11/15/2012 2:17 pm
A Green Country judge looking to make a difference in the life of a teen sentences him to attend church for ten years as part of his probation sentence.
17-year-old Tyler Alred was sentenced Tuesday in Muskogee County District Court. In August, the teen plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in a car accident that killed his 16-year-old friend John Dum in December 2011.
"Our juvenile system is beginning to see not all the time is the solution to lock someone up," said Boulevard Christian Church Pastor James McCracken.
He believes punishments like this can be more helpful than serving time in the prison.
"I believe that being in a church situation puts you in an environment where you can hear things that will change your life,” he told FOX23.
McCracken is hoping that will happen for Alred. Last year, the teen was behind the wheel of the truck when it crashed into a tree. Authorities say he registered 0.06 and 0.07 blood-alcohol content after the accident. The state law is 0.08 but because the teen is underage it was considered driving under the influence.
"Normally change comes about when we have some event that hurts us enough that we have to make some adjustments in our lifestyle," said McCracken.
The pastor doesn't know Alred but hopes the teen takes advantage of his second chance.
McCracken says people can be sent to church, but real change comes with a change of heart.
"To give them an opportunity to learn, to change some habitants, issues in their lives that are leading down a destructive lifestyle," he said.
McCracken helps at-risk teens across Muskogee find the right path with a class called The Landing. He's pointing those teens to god.
"I think the cross is the ultimate sign of hope," the pastor told FOX23.
Alred’s attorney Donn Baker said the church requirement is unusual. Baker says he won't challenge it and that Alred currently attends church regularly.