CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — A Lumberton man pleaded guilty Tuesday to hit and run in the 2020 death of a motorcyclist on Highway 9 in Horry County and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, according to the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Justin Lindsay, 23, pleaded guilty to hit and run, duties of a driver of an accident with death without any recommendation and his sentence was left to the discretion of the judge, Assistant Solicitor Christopher Helms said.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles sentenced Lindsay after hearing from family members of Charles Mechling, 54, of the Little River area.

Lindsay had been scheduled to stand trial on Monday. He could have been sentenced to up 25 years in prison, the solicitor’s office said.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Mechling died after Lindsay hit the rear of his motorcycle in August 2020 while both vehicles were traveling south on Highway 9 near G.P. Smith Avenue and then left the scene. The crash happened at about 9 p.m.

“The state presented the facts and the reasoning for that law is that when you are involved in an accident you must stop,” Helms said. “Hit and run is and always has been illegal and when it’s hit and run with death, you could face anywhere from one year to 25 years in prison.”

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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.