CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A man accused of hitting five cyclists with his car in June of this year was sentenced to a year and a half in prison Wednesday.
Rondell Dungy plead guilty in November to multiple counts of aggravated vehicular assault, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and improper handling of a gun.
Dungy is accused of being under the influence when he hit five cyclists from behind on St. Clair near East 108th Street at about 2:30 in the morning on June 3. The cyclists were Dartangnan Reid, 42, Jamel Linsey, 45, Bernadette Luster, 24, Jamelia Luster, 24, and a 17-year-old girl.
None of the victims were in court Wednesday for the sentencing.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that two of the cyclists who were hit were seriously injured and suffer "lasting impacts" to this day.
"These victims were out enjoying their evening. It was a warm summer night and they were out just having a ride when they were struck from behind by the defendant," said prosecutor Carson Strang.
Strang said his office was leaving the sentence up to the judge, but would like to see Dungy get a "lengthy prison term."
"The state would like to make it clear that making the choice to get into your vehicle and drive when you're intoxicated is not an accident," said Strang.
Dungy addressed the court, saying that he apologized for his actions, and said what happened is not like him.
"I just want to say I'm sorry. This was out of my character, I shouldn't have been behind the wheel of that vehicle - the vehicle of the car that night," said Dungy. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry to the victims. If I could look over to them and apologize and they can see how remorseful I've become."
Judge Michael P Shaughnessey acknowledged that Dungy didn't have any other prior felony convictions on his record, but said he had to weigh that against the damage Dungy did.
"This certainly was out of your character, however, you caused a great deal of harm to these individuals and I tend to agree with the prosecutor that it's no accident, when you ingest alcohol and get behind the wheel of a vehicle bad things can happen even to very good people," said Shaughnessey. "It may not have been your intention that evening to go out and cause any harm, but you are well educated enough to know that if you consume alcohol and get behind the vehicle it's like having a deadly weapon in your hands."
The judge told Dungy he appreciated that Dungy seemed remorseful, but still sentenced him to 18 months in prison, and suspended his driver's license for ten years.
"Mr. Dungy, I don't know what you were thinking that night, but obviously by ingesting alcohol you made some very poor decisions. I hope that in the future you recognize your mistake and learn from them," said Shaughnessey. "It's unfortunate that you put yourself in this position, and more importantly, that you caused so much harm."