PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – A man was sentenced to more than 20 years in a DUI crash that killed a Pulaski County deputy.
Sgt. Perry Hodge, 49, was killed in a head-on crash during an early morning drive on Route 11 on Jan. 14.
Before the crash, Michael Morris had been partying most of Wednesday, January 13, visiting several homes and friends that night, according to court testimony from July. The toxicology report showed that Morris likely took drugs right before he got in the car and may have had close to a lethal amount in his system.
Morris appeared in court on Wednesday morning and was sentenced to 20 years for involuntary manslaughter and 12 months for DUI in connection to the crash that killed Hodge. Morris will serve 14 years of that sentence with the rest suspended and will be eligible for probation. He will also not be able to have contact with the Hodge family unless they request it.
Hodge’s sister and stepdaughter took the stand on Wednesday morning to discuss the impact that his loss has had and how he inspired the community. They urged Morris to change his life for the better once he is released so that Perry didn’t die in vain.
Morris’ father also spoke in court on Wednesday and said that his son has a good heart and is sorry for what he did. His father said Morris wants to change his ways and will live with what happened for the rest of his life. He went on to state that his son started using drugs at 19 and suffered a brain injury in high school.
Morris read a statement to the Hodge family expressing how sorry he was and vowing to turn his life around once he is released, and said he wishes he could trade places with Hodge.