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A Lancaster man charged in a fatal hit-and-run crash last summer apologized to the victim's family in court on Monday.
Marqevius Deandre Hood pleaded guilty Monday to reckless homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death. According to 6th Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield, Hood was speeding away from Lancaster Police Department officers on Aug. 20, 2008, when he lost control of the Lincoln he was driving and rear-ended a motorcycle driven by John Haver, 68.
Haver was ejected from the motorcycle, his head hitting the windshield of the Lincoln, Barfield said. Haver's body went over the top of the car before landing on S.C. 903.
Judge William Seals of Manning sentenced Hood to 10 years in prison on both charges, and another 10 years for an unrelated crack cocaine distribution charge. The sentences will run together.
Hood faced up to 25 years on the leaving the scene of an accident charge, Barfield said. Hood will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence.
According to a report from the S.C. Highway Patrol's Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, Hood was driving 86 mph in a 45 mph when he hit Haver, who was coming off the S.C. 9 ramp onto S.C. 903 at the Lancaster city limits. Semi-retired, Haver worked on car transmissions, torque converter rebuilding and computer diagnostics at his Old Dixie Road home. He was headed to meet his longtime girlfriend at The Dairy Bar, within sight of the crash, for ice cream that night.
Barfield said Lancaster Police Department officers Phillip Hall and Craig Greenlee began pursuing Hood after seeing him driving recklessly in the Southside neighborhood. Both officers were familiar with Hood, Barfield said.
Officers chased Hood along Chesterfield Avenue, which becomes S.C. 903 at the city limits. They lost sight of him briefly and came upon the crash after it happened.
After the crash, Hood got out of the Lincoln and ran into some woods. Officers saw him come out of the woods briefly during a manhunt, but lost him the evening of the crash, Barfield said. Hood turned himself in to police three days later, and has been at the Lancaster County Detention Center since.
During a previous court appearance after the crash, Barfield said Hood had a confrontation with Greenlee, saying, “Hey Greenlee, my car was fast, wasn't it?”
Haver's son, John Bryan Haver, spoke briefly after Barfield presented the case. He said Hood needed to stand up to what he had done.
“This isn't going to bring him (Haver) back,” John Bryan Haver said.
Assistant Public Defender Mark Grier said Hood realizes he has to face up to what he has done.
“He knew there was a price to pay and he was remorseful,” Grier said.
The only part Hood denies is the comment Barfield said Hood made to Greenlee during a previous court hearing, Grier said.
None of Hood's previous convictions, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, failure to stop for a blue light, resisting arrest, unlawful entry and malicious injury to property, involved Hood intentionally hurting someone, Grier said.
Hood turned to look at John Haver's son, John Bryan Haver, when he made his apology.
“I can't take back what happened to your father,” Hood said. “I'm sorry. I hope it brings peace to your family.”
Hood's uncle, Clarence Twitty, addressed the judge and said he was friends with Haver. He urged Hood to come back from his prison term a changed man.
“Don't come back and do the same thing,” Twitty said. “Do what's right. Come back changed. Those young girls and the young man (referring to Hood's four children) need you.”
Hood's aunt, Najla Parker, gave a tearful apology to John Bryan Haver. She said Hood did not have an ideal upbringing, but that was no excuse for what he did. She said Hood, who had a suspended driver's license, should not have been driving that day, and should not have run from police. Like Twitty, she hoped he would come home after his prison term and provide for his family.
“You need to be the father like the father (Haver) that was coming off that bridge that day,” Parker said to Hood.
Turning to John Bryan Haver, Parker said, “I can't say enough how sorry I am and how sorry we are as a family.”
Hood's sister, Sheila Rose, also apologized to John Bryan Haver.
“We're sorry for what happened to your father – he fixed my car,” Rose said. “I am so sorry for what happened.”
Contact senior reporter
Jenny Arnold at 283-1151