By BRIAN BOHNERT
for the courier
TIFFIN — A Fostoria man sentenced to 12 months in prison for a 2012 traffic accident that resulted in the death of a 9-year-old boy will have to wait before learning if he’ll receive an early release.
Seneca County Judge Michael Kelbley did not issue a ruling Wednesday on a request made by George R. Tucker, 75, of Fostoria, for an early release. Kelbley has 10 days to rule on the request.
The judge sentenced Tucker to one year in prison on Sept. 18 on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, a third-degree felony, after his reckless driving on Nov. 15, 2012 caused the death of Mavin K. Hamilton, 9, of Fostoria.
In addition to his prison term, Tucker was also given a lifetime driver’s license suspension and he is prohibited from owning a firearm.
During the hearing, attorney Dean Henry said his client’s age, declining health and penance for the crime make him an ideal candidate for early release.
“I think it’s fair to say that given his advanced years, he’s not going to commit any further crimes,” Henry said. “The lifetime suspension is going to keep him out of the vehicle, and, I personally believe he will comply with that.”
Henry also cited the growing issue of prison overcrowding as a reason to release his client, who he said had a “spotless record” prior to the accident.
“The institution is warehousing Mr. Tucker,” he said. “He’s not getting anything out of this and I don’t think there is any more punishment to impart upon him by keeping him warehoused at Lorain, Belmont or any other institution. It’s certainly not going to undo what ultimately put him in there.”
Seneca County Prosecutor Derek W. DeVine, who filed a written opposition to Tucker’s request, said the sentence will deter people from committing this type of offense in the future.
“Keeping him incarcerated sends the message that you don’t get out early for this type of crime,” DeVine said.
Following Henry’s statements, Tucker rose from his chair and apologized to Mavin’s family while speaking on the inner punishment he feels on a daily basis.
“They may not understand what I have to deal with the rest of my life, however much longer I have to live. But I still have nightmares and stuff about it,” Tucker said. “It’s a burden on me too, like it is on them … Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up and it’s hard to go back to sleep.”
In an emotional statement, Mavin’s mother, Leslie Kroetz, lobbied for Tucker to serve his full sentence, saying her family will have to live with his poor decision long after he is gone.
“It’s 14 months to the day, sir,” Kroetz said to Tucker, with tears in her eyes. “I don’t get an early release. My sentence is life, just like your family, my family and my little girl.”
The accident occurred at 5:30 p.m. on Columbus Avenue near the intersection of East Lytle Street and Springville Avenue. According to reports, the boy ran out from behind a nearby building and into the roadway, where he was hit and dragged down the road by a Dodge Dakota driven by Tucker. The boy died two days later.
Tucker admitted to drinking three shots of whiskey before the accident and his blood alcohol level when Fostoria Police Department conducted a blood alcohol exam was .094, above the legal limit of .08.
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