Janesville62.2°

Five years for fatal hit and run

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Ann Marie Ames
May 12, 2012
— All too often, driving a car when your license has been revoked is considered a victimless crime, Rock County Judge James Daley said Friday.

In the case of an October crash in Janesville, the victim and his family are all too real, Daley said before sentencing Derrick D. Richardson, 43, of 1433 Copeland Ave., Beloit, to five years in prison.

Richardson pleaded no contest to the charge of operating a motor vehicle after revocation and pleaded guilty to a second charge of hit and run causing death.

Richardson was found guilty of killing hitting and killing Anthony M. Sears, 79, of 3104 Village Court, No. 7, Janesville, at 9:22 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, on Mount Zion Avenue near Excalibur Drive on Janesville's east side.

Sears, his family and Richardson all are victims of Richardson's decision, Daley said.

"It is strange that we have chosen to treat operating after revocation as somewhat of a victimless crime," Daley said. "But you are a victim of that decision."

Daley entered a guilty plea on Richardson's behalf and sentenced him to nine months at Rock County Jail for the operating after revocation charge. That time is to be served concurrently with a sentence of five years in prison and five years of extended supervision, which Daley imposed after Richardson pleaded guilty to a charge of hit and run causing death.

According to the criminal complaint, Richardson reached down to pick up a dropped cigarette when he struck Sears.

Richardson in October was charged with sixth-offense intoxicated driving and causing injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Richardson smelled of alcohol when police found him in an eastside Janesville apartment the morning his Dodge Durango struck Sears, according to the criminal complaint filed at the time.

Toxicology tests for drugs and alcohol came back negative, and the charges were amended.

Because of the reduced charges, Richardson's attorney and the Rock County District Attorney's Office had struck a plea agreement that included three years in prison and five years of extended supervision.

Richardson apologized to his family and Sears' family.

"What a person can lose in those seconds," Richardson said. "You can never understand until you get caught up in them."


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