Hit-and-run driver apologizes to family of man he killed - WSMV News 4

Hit-and-run driver apologizes to family of man he killed

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Tonya Thomas Tonya Thomas

There were dramatic moments in court Thursday as a grieving mother confronted the hit-and-run driver who left her son to die, and then tried to cover up the accident.

Calvin Thomas was 25 years old and just five units away from a business administration degree at Tennessee State University when he was killed.

His single mom had raised him right, working two jobs to make sure her only son had everything he needed. But on that horrible November night, everything changed.

The night he died, the young man had loaned his car to his mom so she would have transportation. He would just walk to the Nipper's Corner YMCA for aerobics.

He never made it home, as he was struck by Charles Towns who fled the scene and then tried to cover up the accident by concealing the dent in his car in the back lot of a Bellevue apartment complex.

That was about 19 months ago, and the time since has been torture for mother Tonya Thomas.

"I can't harbor bitterness or anger. I'm full of hurt and pain I can't describe. There's not a word in the English language to describe the pain I'm experiencing," she said.

Towns has DUIs, reckless driving and revoked license arrests consistently over 30 years of an abysmal driving record, but he has never spent more than 14 days in jail.

With these charges, he faced a maximum sentence of nine years in prison Thursday.

"I do forgive you. I do forgive you. I hope that you get the help you need," Tonya Thomas said in court Thursday.

Towns took the stand to apologize to the Thomas family for the night he left a young man dying in Nipper's Corner.

"I'm sorry. I'd do anything I can to make up for it. I know I can't make up for it. There's nothing I can do," Towns said.

Judge Mark Fishburn ruled the accident wasn't intentional, that Towns was remorseful and would have never done this on purpose. But after 30 years as a dangerous driving alcoholic, the judge said, it was time to pay.

Towns was sentenced to serve three years in jail and four years probation.

The Thomas family was clearly upset that the sentence was split. They were hoping the full seven years would be spent in jail.

But the judge is requiring Towns to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day those four years, plus his car will be outfitted with an alcohol monitoring device.

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