Drunk driver gets 15 years in prison for fiery crash that killed local mom

Man, 24, also gets lifetime license suspension.
Cary Ashby
Mar 14, 2014

"This isn't just an accident; this was a crazy accident."

That was Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler's assessment of a high-speed accident Sept. 17 that killed a 36-year-old mother and severely injured three passengers in a drunk driver's car.

In late January, Morgan E. Jevec, 24, of Massillon, pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and failure to comply with order or signal of police officer. He also was convicted of two charges of vehicular assault.

"He deserves every day the court can give him," Leffler told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway.

The judge followed the joint recommendation between Leffler and Huron County Public Defender David Longo and sentenced Jevec to 15 years in prison Wednesday.

The defendant, who will be on three years of parole, can apply for early release after spending 11 years behind bars. Jevec was stoic as the judge announced the prison term.

"A lengthy sentence would be appropriate," said Conway, who admitted sentencing for such cases is difficult.

The driver of a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer, Tracy Albright, 36, of Bellevue, was stopped at a red light at the North Sandusky Street intersection in the city Sept. 17. She died almost instantly after Jevec rear-ended the truck, which caught on fire and was pushed into the intersection.

The fiery crash closed U.S. 20 for about three hours.

Conway said one of the passengers was in a coma for more than a month, another sustained a broken jaw and rib and had some back injuries while the third passenger had a lacerated liver, significant burns and has ongoing numbness. The judge said the victims -- three men from Canton -- will require more surgeries and have sustained injuries that affect their enjoyment of life.

Jevec must pay about $1.29 million in restitution to cover the medical expenses for the three victims. The court also suspended Jevec's driver's license for his lifetime.

"If I could take this back, I would," Jevec told the judge. "I'm going to have to live it with the rest of my life."

Jevec said although he wishes "things had been different," he knows his actions have a significant impact on the victims and their families.

"I have to find forgiveness for myself," said the defendant, who hopes the victims' families will find a way to forgive him. "I pray for them every day."

The defendant's blood-alcohol concentration between .136 and .19 percent. The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is .08 percent.

"The (state) Highway Patrol did a thorough job of investigating this," Leffler said.

Jevec and some friends were out drinking Sept. 17 when he drove a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis from Norwalk to Bellevue.

"He was supposed to be the designated driver," said Leffler, who noted Jevec at one point drank milk at Charlie's Bar in Norwalk.

"He drove absurdly," Leffler said. "When he saw officers, he sped up."

Longo, Jevec's attorney, disagreed with part of the prosecutor's assessment, but said the accident is certainly a tragedy.

"There's been no testimony he saw any officers," said Longo, who added that Jevec apparently "blew past" an officer who attempted to stop him.

At 11:07 p.m., the Bellevue Police Department received the report of a reckless driver on U.S. 20 in Monroeville. Three minutes later, the pursuing officer clocked Jevec going 78 mph in a 50 mph zone near Prairie Road. Other officers soon joined the pursuit.

"He doesn't know why he was going that fast," Longo said.

"The true tragedy is that his passengers got hurt. The true tragedy is a mother was killed," the public defender added.

"I don't think he has a mean bone in his body. ... I don't believe he had any intention to hurt anybody," Longo said.

The defendant's mother, Kathy Jevec, said she couldn't claim her son "is an angel," but added "he doesn't have a mean intention toward anyone."

"There was no pre-planning on his part," she said.

Comments

csnighthawk

"that killed a 36-year-old mother and severely injured her three passengers"

I thought the 3 passengers were in Jevec's car.

Ispeed2_69

...,....

fedup2

And he lives and no permanent injuries?! I hope that changes in prison....

weallmakebadchoices_somepointinlife2014's picture
weallmakebadcho...

We can All Agree that young man made the Worse choice of his life.MORGAN Jevac Was suppose to be the D.D like all humans that decide to go out & party at the bars drinking.All The Fault truely falls on Morgan but his friends in the car WTH was you thinking allowing him 2 start drinking ultimlatly your life was in his hands.If I was in that Car There would be no chance in Hell he starts drinking.So I do find some fault in his friends,Very Little but there is some..I Am so sorry for the children who mother was taken from them so tragically.15 Years is a very long time in prison for a young man thats never been in trouble in his life. But there has 2 be Consequence for his Tragic Actions.

J Cooper

Leffler "This isn't just an accident; this was a crazy accident."
An accident is something that does not have a cause, this was a blatant reckless act, caused by someone without any regard for the safety of others. This is another reason Leffler, I wear my lunch on my shirt should go. Best to have low expectations of both Conway and Leffler and even then they will not meet them.

dogmama2

like other posts I do not understand why his friends were not also charged with anything.If he robbed a store and they were in car they would be in trouble. Just because he was holding wheel makes them no different. they all CHOSE to get in car. I read they are suing him. I hope they get not 1 dime. Pay your bills. Be happy that is all you are paying...Tracy PAID with her life.

ladydye_5

Is anyone really going to see the $1.29Mil? Did he even HAVE car insurance? Looking at his track record on making life choices....was insurance a choice he made? Does insurance even pay on such a thing? How would one even pay $1.29mil back? Especially sitting in prison for 15 years?

theunknownmessanger

this is what aggravates to no end....it was a horrible tragedy what happened to this young mother but how does our leffler decide who he wants to throw in prison for the rest of their life....who remembers Alex Waite? remember the little boy who was killed by killed by a drunk driver...you people are total hypocrites...you say this kid is so horrible but yet the drunk driver who killed this little boy only served 2 years...shes still an alcoholic...to this day you can see that lady driving to the store to buy her beer...should the punishment be more severe for this guy who killed a mother, than it should be for a mother who killed a child...this kid made a horrible decision that took this woman from her children and he should be punished severely but how does our county decide who gets more sever punishments than others for the same exact crime...this county is a joke and you idiots fall for it all...the punishment should be the same for the kid who killed the mother as it was for the mother who killed the kid

Hurricanematt

He used a public defender. That was his second mistake.

theunknownmessanger

i agree with you 100%...but my point is still this, the county picks and chooses who it wants to to enforce severe punishments to...they see this kid as some young stupid punk who killed a mother, and they have decided right off the rip what punishment they wanted to give him before he has even had a chance to be represented in a fair, constitutional way...this county is small and has been run by the same money laundering families who think they are above the constitutional rights of its citizens...the woman who killed this poor little boy not only received a very light sentence, but she fled the scene and hid her vehicle...she then turned herself in 5 days later...i just dont see how these people we "vote" for to run our town sleep at night with the decisions they make...not only that but how do we citizens sleep at night knowing that these unfair decision making fools are doing this...we live in a very corrupt county and its time we tax payers take a stand and open our mouths about what is right and what is wrong...dont get me wrong, this kid needs to be punished, im not in anyway defending this idiotic decision making fool...i just think we need to keep the punishments our officials are handing are fair and consistent, they should not be allowed to pick and choose who gets the more severe punishments, unless of course the person is a habitual offender

AlterEgo

If I remember correctly, the Waite kid rode his back down the hill and in front of that lady. Of course that is no excuse for drinking and driving or leaving the scene and waiting 5 days to turn yourself in.

starryeyes83

" Crazy ACCIDENT " ?!?! WTF? This was NO type of accident at all! It was MURDER plain and simple; only the weapon was not a gun.

What the hell kind of guy is this prosecutor? Who is he for? The dead victim or the perpetrator.

former local

If he was an NFL player he would've received probation, then be adored by fans, like Leonard Little, of the St. Louis Rams was! The justice system favors those who can afford a $300/hr attorney!

earlduck

if the person who killed Alex Waite is an alcoholic as one comment stated,and I have no idea if it is true or not,and she is still driving drunk she surely will kill or hurt another person,that was an accident that probably wouldn't have happened if she had been sober

44846GWP

What a dumb a-s. At 24 he should have known better. I wish him luck, and hope he comes out of this a better person. But he needs to serve all 15 years.

Warped

Not long enough