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Distraught driver sentenced to jail for negligent homicide

Published 10:31am Monday, March 15, 2010

Dowagiac Daily News

CASSOPOLIS – Michael Wilson, 29, of Marcellus, was sentenced in Cass County Circuit Court to two years probation and 60 days in jail Friday for negligent homicide.

On Aug. 14 of last year, Wilson blew a stop sign at the intersection of Dewey Lake Street and Decatur Road in Volinia Township at 40 mph.

His pickup truck collided with the vehicle of Thomas Hiatt of Granger, Ind.

Hiatt sustained injuries that led to his death.

The accident occurred when Wilson was emotionally distraught after finding out that day his wife was leaving him.

Alissa Hiatt, Thomas’ 14-year-old daughter, addressed the court.

“I don’t hate you,” she told Wilson. “My dad taught me mistakes happen … He (Hiatt) wasn’t just Superman. He was beyond it.”

Prosecutor Victor Fitz said it was “a tragic and fatal decision to drive in an emotional state of mind.”

“Whether it’s alcohol or emotional stress, it’s a recipe for disaster … when you get behind the wheel,” Fitz said.

Defense attorney Dale Blunier said Wilson has been shaken up since the incident.

“He has lived with this. His remorse is terrible,” Blunier said. “He couldn’t sleep last night. He can’t sleep most nights.”

The Hiatt family showed “an attitude of forgiveness in spite of grief,” according to Circuit Judge Michael Dodge, and did not request jail time for Wilson.

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