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Man sentenced in traffic death of Mich. senior

A 32-year-old man, who ran a stop sign at a Michigan intersection and caused an accident that killed an elderly man, has pleaded no contest to a traffic-related misdemeanor charge.

Following the plea, a district judge sentenced the man to three years of probation and 600 hours of community service. His license also has been suspended for a year.

The accident occurred on Aug. 17, when the man's Ford Escape crashed into an Oldsmobile driven by an 85-year man in the intersection. Prosecutors charged the Escape driver with the misdemeanor committing a moving violation causing death. The charge carries a maximum of a year in jail and a fine of $2,000.

After an investigation, prosecutors did not uncover any evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol, taken any drugs, driven too fast or was distracted by texting.

A member of the family of the victim, who lived in Napoleon Township, Michigan, said she concurred with the sentence. She said the driver of the Escape did not deserve a jail sentence. She acknowledged that the man's actions did not include any crime more serious than running the stop sign.

The woman said the man, who was her stepfather, was a widower. He had 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren and had served in World War II. At the time of the accident, he was headed to lunch at the local senior center. He and his wife also enjoyed seeing their grandchildren and their children perform in high school musicals.

While the family has filed a civil suit against the driver, their response to the criminal verdict was on target. The man's death was a tragic accident that occurred in a fleeting moment as the driver made a poor decision. A jail term would have been too severe for the crime.

Source: Mlive.com, "Baltimore man loses license, given probation, ordered to perform 600 hours of community service for crash that killed 85-year-old Napoleon Township man," Aaron Aupperlee, Nov. 14, 2012

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