Madison High School basketball coach sentenced in Hazel Park hit-and-run crash

Joseph Dunning sentenced to 1-5 years in prison

HAZEL PARK, Mich. – The varsity baseball coach at Madison High School was sentenced to serve one to five years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a Hazel Park man in October.

Joseph Dunning was handed his sentence Monday afternoon after a judge called his actions "immoral," but also added that Dunning has "done a lot of good in his life."

Dunning ran over Cordie Howlette on 9 Mile Road in Hazel Park and fled the scene. Authorities said Dunning had the right of way, but Dunning did not turn himself into authorities until nine days later.  At that time, investigators said it was impossible to prove whether or not alcohol was a factor in the crash. However, Howlette's sister, Kelly Jackson, has a differing opinion.

"If the only information she had was the information written in that police report, the she's not fully informed. I don't know what information the judge had, I'm not privy to that, I don't know, however, based on the information I have gathered from the Freedom of Information, I think there's an excellent argument for a bar who over-served a man who chose to get in his vehicle and the other people who saw my brother in the road, stopped their car, that person was the only person that did not stop and that happened to be the person that was on video drinking a significant amount of alcohol. I would say let's re-look at all the facts from the beginning to the end," Jackson said.

Dunning was charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing death. The prosecutor's office said either way, drinking was not responsible for Howlette's death, and that it was the fact that Howlette crossed the street without the right of way that led to his death.

"My brother had a lot of struggles in his life, but he was one of the most humane, kind and gentle people. He would have apologized to Mr. Dunning for riding his bicycle out there. He would have been mortified that he affected somebody else's life. He was not a pure person without fault. He didn't want to die that night. He made a mistake by misjudging the light, and I think he was held accountable for his choices and behavior that night and all I would ask is that each person that participated also be held accountable and I don't want their life, I don't think that would serve anybody. I just want justice for all," Jackson said.

Jackson said she doesn't know if her family will ask that Dunning receive additional jail time when he is up for parole after serving one year in prison.

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