A Sedgwick County judge on Friday sent a Clearwater man to jail for 60 days after sentencing him to 18 months of probation in connection with a hit-and-run death more than two years ago.
The two-month jail stay given to Cary Whitlock is a sanction. He has to spend the first 30 days in custody at the Sedgwick County Jail. He will be authorized to spend the last half on work release.
Whitlock, 55, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in the death of 43-year-old Jeremy Napier on Sept. 14, 2014. Law enforcement have said Napier was walking on 103rd Street South between Ridge Road and Hoover Road near Clearwater at about 2:30 that morning when he was struck by an SUV that then drove away.
You knew you hit something significant. … It’s not that you didn’t see it. It’s just that you weren’t paying attention.
District Judge Terry Pullman to Cary Whitlock at his sentencing
A second vehicle ran over Napier a short time later. But coroners were unable to determine which blow caused his death, so there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Whitlock with a more serious crime. He was arrested and charged in September.
Whitlock pleaded no contest last month.
Napier, of Clearwater, was a father of three school-aged children. During Whitlock’s sentencing hearing Friday afternoon, they gave tearful speeches describing life without him.
“It’s been hard to lose him. … The best part about my dad is we had a love bond,” Napier’s younger son, Javion, told District Judge Terry Pullman.
It’s been hard to lose him.
Javion Napier about his father, Jeremy Napier, who died in a hit-and-run collision
Jeremiah, Napier’s oldest boy, said the death means no father seeing him off to high school dances or attending wrestling matches or graduations.
“It really hurts to not be able to have a man in my life to tell me right from wrong,” he sobbed.
“I love my dad with all my heart,” Serenity Napier said when it was her turn to talk. “We had a special bond because I was his only daughter.”
To Whitlock she said: “ I wish you and your family a very good life. But I wish you would know the pain.”
Whitlock offered a brief apology to the children in court and asked for their forgiveness. Then he told them Napier was already lying in the road when he hit him and did not see him.
He maintains that he knew he struck something the night of the collision but did not know what it was.
We had a special bond because I was his only daughter.
Jeremy Napier’s daughter, Serenity
With the exception of the 60-day jail sanction, Pullman followed the plea agreement negotiated for Whitlock by his defense attorney and prosecutors.