WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) _ The driver of a car that struck 10 Amish children walking home from a birthday party, killing five, was sentenced Wednesday to at least seven years in prison.

Judge Robert Brown told Eric Bache, 19, of Millersburg, that he was reckless and should not have been driving.

Witnesses said Bache's car went out of control as it passed a truck on a steep hill on a winding road in rural northeastern Ohio on May 13. The car veered off the pavement and through the group of children. Five children were killed and five were injured.

Bache pleaded guilty Sept. 8, reversing an earlier plea of innocent, to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and driving without a license.

Bache's lawyer, Joi Hemphill, called the sentence too harsh and said she would ask that he be released on probation after six months. Bache will be eligible for parole in May 1998, the prosecutor's office said.