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Nancy Hill turned 64 on June 20, 2011, and had plans to celebrate her birthday with family.
“She was going home to change clothes to meet the rest of us for a lunch because we always took her out on her birthday,” daughter Lisa Hunter said.
Hill never made her birthday celebration. She was killed in a head-on car wreck on Gateway Avenue in Rockwood.
Dylan Seth Headrick was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication in her death. On Wednesday in Roane County Criminal Court he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of vehicular homicide by recklessness and was sentenced to five years in prison.
“Does he go into custody right now?” Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen asked.
“That’s our request,” Assistant District Attorney General Bill Reedy responded.
Public Defender Walter Johnson asked that Headrick, 21, be given 30 days to report for custody.
“Judge we’re opposed to that,” Reedy said. “I just feel like the risk that he might be inclined to get out here and throw one last party before he reports is too great to the community and we would ask that he be remanded today, immediately on the sentence.”
Eblen gave him until April 15 to report.
“If you don’t report on time then that will be another felony charge, so you have everything to lose and nothing to gain,” Eblen said.
Headrick walked out of the courtroom, which was upsetting for Hill’s family, who wanted him taken into custody following the plea hearing.
“Your honor, may I say something?” Hunter asked.
Reedy decided it would be better for him to speak with the family in private following the hearing.
Headrick spent about a month in jail after he was indicted in October 2011. That time will be credited on his five-year sentence. Hill’s family was upset about that as well.
As a range 1 standard offender, Headrick only has to serve 30 percent of his sentence before he’s eligible for release. Due to a lack of space in the state prison system, Headrick could serve his sentence at the Roane County Jail and not have to go to the penitentiary.
“It’s just not right,” Hill’s son Scottie Hill said. “The system is not right.”
Scottie Hill said the family consented to the plea agreement in part because they were frustrated with the legal system.
Johnson said Headrick has accepted responsibility for what happened.
“He’s here today,” Johnson said. “He’s agreed to serve the sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections.”
Hill’s family has a lawsuit pending in Roane County Circuit Court against Headrick, Bonnie Sharpe and Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company. The lawsuit said Sharpe was the owner of the Ford Taurus Headrick was driving when he crashed into Hill.