Sentence reduced for fatal hit-and-run driver

2011-12-08T15:45:00Z 2011-12-08T18:15:42Z Sentence reduced for fatal hit-and-run driverBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
December 08, 2011 3:45 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Court of Appeals on Thursday knocked two years off the prison term of a Hammond man who struck and killed a Valparaiso construction worker on the westbound Borman Expressway near Lake Station last year.

The expressway's two left lanes were closed at Ripley Street for pothole patching on March 16, 2010, when Robert Shannon, 37, sped into the construction zone, passed several orange barrels and crashed into Christopher Jenkins, 45.

According to court records, the force of the collision pushed Jenkins' body through the windshield of Shannon's vehicle. Shannon fled the accident scene on foot but was apprehended by police later that day.

He pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a work zone causing death and was sentenced to six years in prison and one year probation.

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court reduced Shannon's prison term to four years and ordered him to serve two years probation. With good behavior he could be released in April 2013.

The court said Shannon's sincere remorse -- he apparently carries a picture of Jenkins with him at all times -- and the acknowledgment by Jenkins' family that Shannon is a decent person who made a tragic error, justifies a reduced sentence.

Judge Terry Crone disagreed with the court's ruling.

He said Shannon's original sentence was appropriate given the danger of speeding through a construction zone and because Shannon had a prior reckless driving conviction.

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