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Carrollton man pleads guilty to manslaughter
, Courier Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:00 AM
A Carrollton man accused of causing the death of a pedestrian while driving under the influence pleaded guilty on Monday to four charges, including second-degree manslaughter.
James Nathan Wilhoite, 24, pleaded guilty in Carroll County Circuit Court to manslaughter in the second degree, a Class C felony; leaving the scene of an accident, a Class D felony; possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor; and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Wilhoite faces up to 15 years in prison, a $1,000 fine, revocation of his driver's license for five years and a DUI service fee for the four counts as part of a plea agreement.
He is expected to be sentenced in March.
Wilhoite was indicted by a Carroll County grand jury in October on four charges - including murder - after he was alleged to have struck and killed 27-year-old Michael Wayne Beach of Carrollton with his vehicle.
According to court documents, Beach had been walking on the side of KY 227 around 9 p.m. on Oct. 8 when he was struck by Wilhoite's vehicle, which had crossed the white line.
Drug tests indicated Wilhoite was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
State police reports said Wilhoite left the scene of the accident, failed to render assistance after the collision and parked the vehicle in an adjacent parking lot.
Beach was transported to the Carroll County Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by Henry County Coroner James Pollard.
According to the grand jury indictment, Wilhoite also was in possession of a controlled substance - hydrocodone - at the time of the accident.
The plea deal Wilhoite signed with the Commonwealth's attorney on Monday amended the charge of murder to second-degree manslaughter.
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