FREEHOLD - A man who killed three friends while drag racing in 2007 has been sentenced to 25 1/2 years in prison.

Under terms of the sentence handed down in Monmouth County yesterday, 23-year-old Nelson Villanueva must serve a little more than 20 years before he'll become eligible for parole.

Prosecutors said Villanueva was drag racing with Carlos Ortiz in Neptune when Villanueva's car broadsided another vehicle. Three passengers in his car were killed and a fourth survived.

Villanueva was convicted in July of vehicular homicide and driving with a suspended or revoked license. The panel was unable to reach a verdict against Ortiz.

AP wire services contributed to this report.