DILLON, SC (WBTW) – A Maxton, North Carolina woman charged in a 2014 crash that severely injured a Dillon police officer and killed one person learned her fate today in court. 27-year-old Jenni Hunt pleaded guilty to felony DUI and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
S.C. Circuit Court Judge Roger Young handed down the sentence this morning after hearing testimonies from Hunt, her friends and family, and Officer Jacob Richardson’s father. Officer Richardson has permanent brain damage after being hit by Hunt on Highway 9 on July 6, 2014 while responding to a disturbance call at a bar.
At today’s hearing, his father, Eddie Richardson said, since then, his son has had nearly 30 surgeries and has rods in his arms and legs, and nearly died three times. He said all he wants is for his life to go back to normal.
“My boy got a life sentence. His life won’t never be the same,” said Richardson.
Hunt read a one-page letter to Richardson and the judge saying she was remorseful and sorry for her actions that drastically changed a number of people’s lives. Her mother also spoke on her behalf, saying her daughter “knew better” than to drive while drunk and was raised to never get behind the wheel while under the influence.
“I want to apologize for her actions because she did know better than that but at the time, she thought she did have a sober driver. She would not have went… I taught her that. Do not go anywhere without a sober driver,” she said. She also said she regrets what her daughter did and empathizes with the Richardsons.
Fighting back tears, Richardson asked the judge to hold Hunt accountable, but said, regardless of the outcome, everybody lost.
“At the end of the day, no matter what’s decided, there’s no winner,” Richardson said. “Everybody lost.“
Hunt was also sentenced to 10 years for reckless homicide. The two sentences will run concurrently.