URBANA — A Champaign County judge Thursday sentenced an Urbana man who ran over and killed his best friend while drunk to 12 years in prison.
William Crouch, 47, of the 1000 block of East Water Street, pleaded guilty in February to aggravated driving under the influence, admitting that he was driving while drunk on Sept. 5, 2011, when he ran over Charles Moody, 39, killing him.
Crouch cried as he apologized to Mr. Moody's sister, his own family and Judge John Kennedy for what happened.
"He was a good friend, a brother," Crouch said of Mr. Moody.
Testimony was that Mr. Moody lived with Crouch and Crouch's wife for several years after his own divorce.
Monique Crouch described her husband and Mr. Moody as "inseparable."
Crouch told the judge he never meant to hurt his friend, who died of multiple blunt force injuries, including a skull fracture, after being run over with a minivan on Captiva Street near Illini Airport Road in northeast Urbana at 10:10 p.m.
Testimony was that the two men and others had been drinking all day.
Assistant State's Attorney Andrea Bergstrom said Crouch had a blood alcohol level of 0.26 percent that night, more than three times the limit for an Illinois motorist to be presumed intoxicated.
"It is disingenuous to call this an accident. It is sad. It is tragic, but it was not an accident," she said. "William Crouch said he was being hit (by Mr. Moody) but said 'I'm going to run you over,' and he did."
"It is unfortunate, but the defendant made choices that led to this," Bergstrom said, asking for 12 years.
Crouch's attorney, Ed Piraino of Champaign, asked Kennedy to sentence Crouch to drug court, noting that his most recent criminal conviction was 29 years ago.
"This man lived with the victim for nine years. They were inseparable. They did good things, too," said Piraino, adding that Crouch cooperated with police and accepted responsibility for his friend's death.
Kennedy called Mr. Moody's death "tragic and certainly preventable, but a result of drunken and idiotic behavior."
Crouch will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence, or just over 10 years. He was given credit for 216 days already served.