Akron man gets 8 years for drunken driving in crash that killed teenager

Grant Wilson was killed in the crash. (Source: GoFundMe)
Grant Wilson was killed in the crash. (Source: GoFundMe)

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - An Akron man will serve eight years in prison for driving drunk and speeding in a crash that killed a teenager.

Grant Wilson, 17, died when a car driven by John Bird crashed into a vehicle in which he was a passenger.

The crash happened on Christmas Eve in 2016.

Bird's blood alcohol level tested nearly three times the legal limit, and prosecutors say he was driving more than 90 miles an hour at the time of the crash on North Portage Path in Akron.

On Monday, Wilson's girlfriend who is also a teen and was hurt in the crash, spoke directly to Bird at this sentencing.

"Admit that if it wasn't my car, it would have been the next one or the one after that," she said. "Stand up here and admit, in front of everyone, that you launched a 100-mile-per-hour massive cannon ball, flying down a residential road, that it was just a question of who and when, never if."

Her father was in the vehicle as well, and while everyone involved was taken to the hospital, Wilson died at the scene.

Bird's attorneys told the court he had a tough childhood, which led to drinking in adulthood. The night of the crash was his fourth charge for drunk driving.

"My reckless decision to get into that car that night haunts me every waking moment," Bird said. "I've spent many sleepless nights thinking of what I could ever say or do to help with the healing so many desperately need."

Bird's attorneys had asked for a six-year sentence, while he faced a maximum of 18 years in prison.

Wilson's girlfriend told the court she is still haunted by nightmares about that night, and suffering from physical and emotional scarring.

"On these nights, all I can do is cry until the ribs you broke ache from the sobbing and pray that I never remember anything more gruesome for fear it might haunt my nights, too," she said. "I feel the weight of guilt because I lived and he did not. But I didn't kill him. You did."

The judge ordered no chance of early release, so Bird will serve the entirety of his sentence.

She also stripped his driver's license for life.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.