MICHIGAN CITY — The drunk driver who killed a motorist in a high-speed crash on Franklin Street near Ames Field just before the 2018 homecoming parade was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday.
Timothy E. Malott, 56, technically was sentenced to 10 years for operating while intoxicated causing death with a prior unrelated conviction within the last 10 years, a Level 4 felony; and 5 years for his Level 5 felony reckless homicide charge.
However, Judge Michael Bergerson determined that because the crimes committed were one act resulting in one death, the sentences should be served concurrently as opposed to consecutively.
The judge ordered that while in lockup, Malott complete the Recovery While Incarcerated Program. Once Malott successfully does that, and has served 5 actual years behind bars, he will be permitted to petition for a modified sentence.
“I am sorry for this,” Malott said in court Thursday. “I never meant to hurt anyone. I wish I could go back and change it, but I cannot. I hope that someday the family of Mr. Waters will find it in their hearts to forgive me. It was an accident I am very sorry for.”
Bergerson listed Malott’s remorse as a mitigating circumstance, as well as his guilty plea to two of his four OWI counts after having been convicted by a jury of the other two on Sept. 16.
Aggravating circumstances, the judge said, include Malott’s criminal history, which includes two previous driving-related misdemeanors, including one OWI conviction; and that the advisory sentence of 6 years would depreciate the seriousness of the crimes committed.
According to the sentencing order, Malott sped southbound down Franklin Street away from the intersection of Franklin and Barker Avenue at a rate of speed higher than 70 mph in the early evening hours of Oct. 5, 2018.
When he reached Skwiat Legion Avenue, his car struck that of 49-year-old Anthony Waters, who died as a result of his injuries.
“There is no evidence that the defendant attempted to avoid the collision; or that he applied his brakes; or that the collision was caused by wet pavement,” the judge writes.
“… At trial, the defendant concocted a story about being involved in a road rage incident as the reason for his excessive speed on the most traveled street in Michigan City,” Bergerson continued, and questioned why Malott had not said that to anyone during any point of the investigation.
Michigan City Police noted in the initial report from the crash that Malott’s blood alcohol content measured 0.133 percent after the crash, almost twice the legal limit.
Still, Malott’s attorney and sister both denied during Thursday’s sentencing hearing that Malott had been intoxicated at the time.
Cindy Borolov asked the judge to show mercy and leniency to her brother, as his siblings do not want to see him incarcerated in their later years.
Two of the victim’s uncles and one of his aunts also testified, asking for the judge to impose a sentence long enough to give Malott time to reflect on what he had taken from their family, especially Waters’ wheelchair-bound mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and for whom Waters was the full-time caregiver.
Waters’ mother chose not to attend Thursday’s hearing, but sent a letter saying she didn’t want to “share the same air with the person who created a devastating, life-altering change for me.”
She and Waters’ uncle both said they like to think of Waters as a hero who used his car as a shield and gave his life to spare the lives of parade spectators who had lined the streets prior to Michigan City High School’s homecoming football game.
Before being remanded to the custody of the La Porte County Sheriff on Thursday, Malott was ordered to pay $11,984.70 to Waters’ mother to reimburse her for funeral and insurance expenses stemming from the crash.
He was credited with 376 actual days served and “good time” credit of 126 days, for a total of 502 days toward his sentence.