In 2011, a 43-year-old man reached over to retrieve his cell phone that he had dropped. Suddenly, his car shuddered as the front end of his vehicle hit something on the road. Thinking it was a deer, he drove home and immediately notified police who promptly told him to return to the scene.
To his horror though, it wasn't a deer that he had hit but rather a 70-year-old man he knew to be a local veterans advocate in Washtenaw County. The man was pronounced dead at the scene despite the fact that the vehicle had only been travelling between 34 and 42 mph at the time of the accident. The driver surrendered himself to police and submitted to a blood test. It allegedly showed a blood alcohol level of approximately .12 which placed him over the legal limit.
The man faced charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. At the time, he faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
This month though, the man was given a chance to defend himself against the charges in front of a judge. The family asked that the case not go to a jury trial stating that it "would have been traumatic for all of [them] to go through."
The 43-year-old man pled guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the charge of leaving the scene of an accident after police pointed out that he had in fact returned to the scene when asked.
According to reports, the victim's family was incredibly sympathetic towards the accused saying that he "appeared to be a good person who made a mistake."
Sentencing will commence in January at which point a judge will determine the length of time he will spend in prison.
•· AnnArbor.com, "Scio Township man pleads guilty to killing Gary Lillie while driving drunk last year," Kyle Feldscher, Nov. 1, 2012
•· AnnArbor.com, "Trial set for man accused of drunken driving in death of veterans advocate Gary Lillie," Kyle Feldscher, Nov. 10, 2011