Hephzibah man pleads guilty in pedestrian deaths

Shores

 

A Hephzibah motorist who struck and killed two teen pedestrians pleaded guilty Thursday to two misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide.

William Shores, 23, was sentenced to a year in the county jail, followed by a year’s probation in a plea deal accepted by Richmond County Superior Court Judge J. Wade Padg­ett.

On March 2, 2011, Shores was driving east on McCombs Road when he rounded a curve and hit Michael Perry, 17, and Sarah Riffe, 13. Based on the Georgia State Patrol investigation, the teens were in the eastbound lane, Assistant District Attor­ney Adam Land said.

The investigation revealed Shores was going 58 mph in a 45-mph zone. The speeding was the underlying basis for the vehicular homicide charges.

There was no indication that Shores was intoxicated, but the investigating trooper requested a blood test, Land said.

The results – which appellate courts have split on allowing as evidence when collected in the same manner – revealed methamphetamine in his system.

Land said a chemist reported that the level was too low to gauge the extent of possible intoxication.

A state patrol trooper met with Shores and his parents and told them the accident wasn’t his fault, As­sis­tant Public Defender Lynd­­sey Hix said Thursday.

Because of the curve in the road, there was no way Shores could have seen the teens in time to stop, Hix said.

She said the deaths have caused Shores a tremendous amount of guilt that he will carry for the rest of his life.

“I’m so sorry. I really am,” Shores said to two of Per­ry’s family members at the hearing Thurs­day.

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