Judge: Hit-and-Run Suspect 'Failed Miserably' to 'Show Compassion'
A 21-year-old Saukville man found guilty of a hit-and-run crash over the 2012 Fish Day weekend was sentenced on Wednesday, while his parents and the judge expressed confidence in his ability to rebound.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect a correction in the sentence time.
A Saukville man found guilty of a hit-and-run crash over the 2012 Fish Day weekend will spend 3 months in jail and be responsible for the nearly $30,000 in medical bills accumulated by the victim in the incident.
Michael Frey, 21, recieved 3 months in jail and 3 years probation, during which time he is to stay sober, stay out of bars or liquor stores, be available for random drug testing, seek counseling for addiction and have no contact with the victim, Chris Morano. He has served 29 days in jail and tat will count towards his sentence; restituation owed to the victim is roughly $29,000.
Frey was found guilty in December on charges of hit-and-run, as well as charges for possession of narcotics and possession of a controlled substance for items found in his car after it was impounded.
"I don't doubt your sincerity to make your wrongs right, but you need some sort of supervison." Judge Sandy Williams told Frey on Wednesday, referring to the requirements of his probation. "Some people have addictive personalities, yours might be that."
The time behind bars, Williams said, was necessary to help Frey better understand the crime that was committed in fleeing the scene.
"You have an obligation to stay at the scene (of any accident your involved in)," she said. "You failed miserably in this case to do that. You showed no compassion to another human being by leaving."
Frey's mother and father both appeared in court giving statements regarding their son's integrity and success in school, sports and other areas of life.
"He has great goals in life," Tom Frey, Michael's father, said.
"I realize he's made a few bad choices in the past year," Tom added, asking Judge Sandy Williams to give Michael a chance to prove he is on a path to positive change.
Frey, 20 at the time of the accident, said he did not see Morano — who turned out to be a friend — until the impact occurred on July 22, according to police reports. Port Washington officers down the street witnessed the accident at 1:33 a.m. in the 100 block of Franklin Street, and "saw a male subject fly up into the air, flip and land on the ground."
Frey told officers he fled the scene because he panicked and didn't know what to do. After leaving the downtown area, Frey headed toward Upper Lake Park. Officers note that he passed a clearly marked police vehicle on Lake Street while fleeing the scene.
Some witnesses had said that Morano was walking into the street when the crash occurred, which has caused Frey's insurance company to question whether he is at fault for the accident — adding difficulty in securing money to payback Morano.
"It's not clear exactly how the accident happened, but what is clear is that (Frey) hit (Morano) and then fled the scene," Frey's attorney, Michael Penkwitz, told the courts on Wednesday. "I know he's ashamed — he's got to work through that. I think he understands that the addiction issue ... clouded his judgment."
Officers found 33 Oxycodone Hydrochloride pills in an unlabeled bottle below the shifting compartment of his car at the impound; they also found a bag of Suboxone films.
Suboxone is a substance used to treat dependence to opioids, according to Suboxone.com. Oxycodone Hydrochloride is an opioid, according to FDA.gov.
In talking with police, Frey said he was not a drug dealer and that he "had a problem ... (and) started to use the Suboxone to help his problem," the report said.
Williams also granted expungement — erasing of the records — on Frey's charges as long as he follows through with the probation requirements.
"I hope you understand what a huge benefit that is," she said, adding that one step inside a bar or a single slip up otherwise and this would be taken away. "I'm ... confident you're going to make positive changes."