September 1, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
86°F
test

Driver who fled fatal July 4 crash receives prison

ELYRIA — A Lorain man involved in a fatal car crash on July 4 was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

Meeks

Meeks

Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Edward Zaleski also suspended 24-year-old Michael Meeks driver’s license for life and ordered him to pay $7,353 for the funeral of Thomas Gault.

Gault, 46, died a day after the accident in which he was struck while riding a Rakatak scooter about 5 p.m. on Elyria Avenue in Lorain. Meeks, who was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer, was headed northbound on the same road and was turning onto West 17th Street when he struck the southbound Gault. Meeks fled the scene, but witnesses followed him and pointed out his vehicle to police.

Meeks had a blood-alcohol level of 0.171, which is more than twice the legal driving limit of 0.08.
He apologized for Gault’s death during his court appearance Monday.

In a statement read in court, Gladys Gault, Thomas Gault’s widow, called Meeks’ action selfish.

“Your lack of responsibility and lack of compassion proves that you are truly the opposite of who Tommy was. He was caring, loving, generous and always willing to lend a hand,” Gladys Gault said in the statement. “And you’ve shown, by leaving him helpless in the street, that you take little responsibility for what you’ve done.”

Meeks pleaded no contest in February to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to stop, obstructing official business, failure to comply and DUI.

Meeks’ father and passenger at the time of the accident, Michael Kirkwood, initially was charged with possession of marijuana, which officers saw him dropping as he got out of the SUV. That charge was later dropped, according to Lorain Municipal Court records.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.