Driver Guilty and Not Guilty in Gulf Shores Hit and Run

Driver Guilty and Not Guilty in Gulf Shores Hit and Run

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"My last two years have been wondering what happened," says Carol Hoeft after the verdict, "and being able to put some pieces together"

Carol Hoeft got some of those answers when a jury found Dennis Hutcheson guilty of criminally negligent homicide but not guilty of leaving the scene of an accident.

Hutcheson was driving a black SUV on Fat Tuesday 2012 when he hit what he thought was an animal, according to his testimony. What he hit was Michael Hoeft riding his recumbent bike, kind of a grown up tricycle, along County Road 4.

Hoeft was killed, Hutcheson never stopped.

"Basically what the jury said was it was his responsibility to see a biker on the road," says defense attorney John Beck. "Bikers can be on the road at any time, apparently, under any circumstance."

"We respect the jury's verdict," says assistant district attorney Teresa Heinz. "We would have like for them to found him guilty of both charges but we respect their verdict."

Carol Hoeft says she is at peace with the verdict and grateful for those who have helped along the way. "I'm focusing on the positive. The people that were there. The people that did stay, pulled over and the first responders. There are just so many people that went out of their way. The community, the neighbors."

Hutcheson was taken away in handcuffs proclaiming the jury got it wrong.

Carol Hoeft says she is relieved the trial is over and she can start to heal. "He has been made to take responsibility for Mike's death. Mike was an amazing guy and he deserves that."

Sentencing for Hutcheson is set for March 26th. The maximum sentence he faces is a year in the county jail.

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