But Judge Genece E. Brinkley was in no mood to grant Cusick's holiday wish, and instead sentenced him to six to 12 years in state prison followed by 10 years of probation. The sentence, she told him, was to begin immediately.
"Hearing the agony and the unbearable pain that the families have expressed, this sentence is absolutely necessary," Brinkley told Cusick, who was supported by a host of sobbing relatives, including his parents.
Defense attorney William J. Ciancaglini, who asked for a prison term of 3 1/2 to 7 years, said the sentence was fair.
"It's a real tragedy for everyone involved," Ciancaglini said outside court, "because Johnny's a good kid and the officers were truly hurt. So, nobody wins here."
Assistant District Attorney Noel Ann DeSantis, who asked for a sentence of 10 to 20 years, told the judge that Cusick was remorseful only because he was heading to prison.
Cusick, an unemployed high-school dropout, began using marijuana at age 11 and was enabled to move on to using heroin and pills by relatives who gave him money, DeSantis said.
She said that Cusick was still using drugs and alcohol after the accident - even on Sept. 7, the day he pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and related charges.
"He has been using drugs the whole time," DeSantis said, with disbelief.
In the early-morning hours of June 28, 2009, Cusick was driving his Honda Ridgeline truck on Aramingo Avenue when he failed to avoid a marked police cruiser parked in a lane of traffic as officers George Higginson and Richard Hayes were engaged in a traffic stop.
His truck, going about 70 mph, caused a chain-reaction crash with the police cruiser and the stopped vehicle, a Geo Prizm, which the officers were standing near.
Higginson struck his head on the trunk of the Prizm, causing facial fractures. Hayes was thrown inside the Prizm, where his head smashed into the dashboard, causing massive head trauma and brain injuries. He spent six months in a coma.
In a victim-impact statement, which the prosecutor read to the judge, Hayes said that he has no feeling on the left side of his face because of numerous surgeries, permanently lost his sense of smell and most of his teeth, and has memory-loss problems.
"I was satisfied with the sentence," said Hayes, 29, who is assigned to the Major Crimes Division. "We have to go through a lot more than he's going to have to go through, but I'm satisfied."
"This is a life sentence for me," said Higginson, 26, who is assigned to the Traffic Division. "Even though he got his six-to-12, it's a far cry from what I have to endure."
Like Hayes, Higginson said that he does not remember the crash. His first memory after waking up, he said, was being inside an ambulance and being asked if he was an organ donor.