DECATUR — Malik O. Lewis, the Decatur driver who fled the scene of an accident that claimed the life of a pregnant woman, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Decatur police had described Lewis, 24, as speeding at 70 mph in a 35 mph speed zone and blowing through a red light the night of May 25, 2020, before the crash occurred at the intersection of East Condit and North Jasper streets.
Jameela Cunningham, 27, four months pregnant at the time with her first child, had been a passenger in the other car Lewis collided with. She would later be pronounced dead at hospital; three other people had also been listed as being injured but surviving the crash.
Police had described Lewis as walking away from the accident before being traced and identified using DNA evidence recovered at the accident scene. Sworn police affidavits said it was “two full days” before the defendant finally came forward to talk to police.
Lewis was sentenced by Macon County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Geisler after he appeared in court on Thursday.
He had earlier appeared in court Aug. 3 and announced he would accept a plea deal negotiated by his defense attorney, Paul Chiligiris, in which he admitted leaving the scene of an accident involving death. Seven other counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death were then dismissed by Judge Geisler.
The sentencing hearing had been an open one left up to the judge, but with the prison term capped at a maximum of seven years.
Speaking at the earlier hearing, Chiligiris had told Geisler that Lewis would dispute the police account about running a red light but would not argue the basic details of how the crash happened.
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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid
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