CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted clemency to a man who was convicted of reckless homicide as a teenager and later flew more than 1,700 missions in Vietnam.

Patrick McNamee of Huntington Beach, California, is one of eight people whose petitions Rauner granted Wednesday.

McNamee was 17 when the car he was driving crashed in DuPage County, Illinois, in 1954, killing his best friend.

Illinois Prisoner Review Board spokesman Jason Sweat says the prosecutor and judge wrote letters on McNamee's behalf in 1957, saying he'd make a good pilot. McNamee later earned more than 75 air medals.

McNamee says he submitted the petition so he could obtain a concealed carry firearm permit.

The 79-year-old also says he didn't want to die "and have that felony hanging over my head."

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