Wife of Wayne County Sheriff's sergeant killed in hit-and-run confronts man responsible in court

Couple married for 31 years

DETROIT – The wife of a Wayne County Sheriff's sergeant who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while he was jogging this past summer at Hines Park in Westland addressed the man responsible in court Tuesday.

Sgt. Lee Smith, 55, was off-duty when he was struck and killed Aug. 14, 2018 just after 10 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Simone Smith was married to Lee Smith for 31 years. She said the couple had just agreed to retire and spend quality time together. Seven days later, her husband was killed.

Simone Smith spoke directly to Desmond Robinson, who admitted hitting and leaving her husband for dead.

"Because of you, I have this emptiness in my heart. Because of you, Tuesdays are filled with sadness. Because of you, I scream and cry. Because of you, I miss him. And because of you, I must live this life without him," she said.

  • Watch the full sentencing hearing with victim impact statements and a statement from the defendant:

Robinson, 47, was arrested two days later in Garden City after a massive manhunt. He was accused of fatally hitting Sgt. Smith with his SUV and driving away from the scene, then trying to erase evidence.

Robinson was charged with the following:

  • Reckless driving causing death
  • Failure to stop at an injury accident scene causing death
  • Tampering with evidence

Originally, a judge entered a not guilty plea on Robinson's behalf and signed an order to have an attorney represent him. However, Robinson later pleaded guilty to all of the charges to avoid trial. 

Judge Qiana Lillard sentenced Robinson to a minimum 4 and 1/2 years and maximum 15 years in prison with 201 days jail credit. He also must pay court fees totaling $1,500.

Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. Lee Smith was killed while jogging in Hines Park on Aug. 14, 2018.
Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. Lee Smith was killed while jogging in Hines Park on Aug. 14, 2018.

Smith had just retired from the force. His widow said they were making plans for his retirement as she was looking forward to finally getting to spend more time with her husband. They had been married for 31 years.

Smith's brother, John Smith, said he is disappointed that someone like Robinson does not get a harsher punishment for deadly distracted driving.

What happened

The crash happened on a Tuesday and Robinson was arraigned that following Saturday at the 34th District Court in Romulus.

A sergeant was at the arraignment and presented the judge with what police said are the facts of the case. He told the judge that witnesses described the vehicle that struck Sgt. Smith as a black compact SUV.

According to police, witnesses told them Smith was on the westbound side of Edward Hines Drive near the shoulder when an SUV heading eastbound crossed over the median into westbound lanes striking Smith.

Sergeant: During an earlier portion of the investigation officers were able to ascertain that the suspect's vehicle was a black Buick Envoy with damage to the hood and front end.

Robinson (mumbling): Enclave.

Sergeant: Enclave, sorry.

The sergeant continued, explaining that while they were interviewing Robinson they found the Enclave with the same front-end damage.

He also told the judge that Robinson admitted to driving on Edward Hines Drive and striking Smith with the 2012 black Enclave. He said that Robinson told police that he panicked and fled the location to a residence in Inkster, Michigan.

Police said Robinson told them he attempted to clean and buy parts for the vehicle while he kept it hidden in the garage.

During arraignment, Robinson told the judge that he has a part-time job working on houses. He said he gets a lot of work and is also on disability. Robinson said he is on disability because he was shot in both of his hands and in his abdomen.

Prior to arraignment, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy released the following statement:

"By all accounts, Sgt. Smith was a dedicated, passionate, and skilled member of law enforcement who was going to retire soon. In the blink of an eye, the alleged actions of this defendant destroyed the lives of his family, friends, fellow officers, and the many others he had yet to positively influence.”

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