A Bartlett, Tennessee, police officer, whose reckless driving claimed the lives of two people, will not serve jail time.
The afternoon of October 12, 2014, officer Lucas Hines, now 34, was speeding in his patrol car and failed to yield to oncoming traffic when making a left turn, The Commercial Appeal reported. He reportedly did not have his emergency lights or sirens activated and was traveling up to 83 mph when he crashed into a vehicle containing 49-year-old Michelle Sloyan and 63-year-old Danny Floyd. Both died in the crash.
A witness to the crash said it was “horrific.”
Authorities charged Hines with two counts of vehicular homicide, but instead, a jury found him guilty of two counts of reckless driving, a misdemeanor offense, in August.
"While my client is happy with the jury's verdict, this case is extremely sad," Hines' attorney, Arthur Quinn, said after the verdict. "We have to remember that two lives were lost."
During his hearing on Sept. 23, the presiding judge gave Hines a deferred sentence and ordered him to complete a diversion program.
Diversion is when a defendant is taken out of the criminal justice system and placed in a program, instead of being incarcerated, USLegal explains. A diversion program is typically made available to defendants charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies involving drugs and alcohol. If the defendant completes the diversion program, then criminal charges are usually dropped and the defendant's record won't showing a criminal conviction.
In Hines’ case, if he completes diversion, then his record will be cleared and the case dismissed.
"I believe that Mr. Hines is going to live with this for the rest of his life," Shelby County Criminal Court judge James Beasley said at the sentencing hearing.
The prosecution wanted a six-month jail sentence, the maximum allowed, and a $500 fine.
“He’s never shown any remorse,” assistant district attorney Billy Bond said.
Hines’ attorney asked for diversion.
Hines’ wife, Konstance, said in court that her husband thinks about the victims every night.
“It has affected him,” she said. “It’s really affected our family.”