A Toledo woman who unintentionally and fatally struck a man walking his dog then drove off was placed on community control Wednesday for three years.
Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Michael Goulding also ordered that Zuri Sutton, 20, of the 3500 block of Hilltop Boulevard, spend four months in the Lucas County Work Release Program followed by 90 days on electronic monitoring. The judge suspended her driver's license for three years.
Sutton pleaded guilty June 20 to failure to stop after an accident, a third-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison, for an Oct. 18 crash that killed Monroe Bailey, 56, of Toledo.
Mr. Bailey was walking his dog in the 1200 block of Eastgate Road when he was struck by Sutton’s car just before 8 p.m. in an area where there were no street lights. Mr. Bailey died a month later from his injuries.
Judge Goulding said the incident was “obviously a tragedy for everybody involved.” In sparing Sutton a prison sentence, he cited her lack of criminal record coupled with the absence of aggravating circumstances – she was not driving drunk or texting at the time.
“Ms. Sutton, you should have gone back. You shouldn't have left the scene. You know that now,” Judge Goulding said. “You froze. You panicked. You left. You did come back, but given the nature of the injuries, I don't know that there's anything you could have done ... to help the person you injured.”
The victim’s sister, Tina Gray, told the court she understood that it was an accident, but she said Sutton should be held responsible for driving off and leaving her brother struggling with what would turn out to be fatal injuries. He was a husband and father who is missed, she said.
“This should not have happened,” Ms. Gray said. “He should have been broken maybe. She said she thought she hit an animal, but if you hit an animal, you stop. If you hit a dog, you stop ... You don’t leave.”
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