Driver in hit-and-run that killed construction worker on I-94 sentenced to 210 days in jail

Collision occurred in St. Clair Shores in 2020

The family was not happy with the sentencing.

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – Zach Morisette was just out doing his job when he was hit and killed in September 2020 on I-94.

Martin Smith, the driver who struck him, never stopped. He turned himself in three days later.

Read: ‘He was the best guy I knew’ -- Family mourns construction worker killed in hit-and-run on I-94

A judge sentenced Smith in court Friday, but not before the victim’s parents were able to address him directly.

“My heart is completely broken,” Dawn Morisette said.

His mother struggled to hold back the tears at the sentencing.

“I kept texting him and calling him and he never answered because you killed him,” Dawn Morisette said. “Rachel, his girlfriend, was sitting on our deck and she jumped up and said, ‘Oh, my God, Dawn, there’s a police officer here.’”

That’s when she learned Zach Morisette had been struck while putting a shovel back in his work truck on an emergency call. His brother became angry when the judge reduced the jail time from 15 years to a maximum of five.

“Martin Smith will be the beneficiary of a flawed system. Five years is not enough for taking another person’s life,” Rodney Morisette said. “His action prove he is not sorry for killing my brother, he’s sorry he got caught.”

“I’ve been carrying this burden in my heart for the past year,” Smith said. “I genuinely can’t express how sorry and remorseful I am for the unfortunate event that transpired that day.”

A frustrated judge told the Morisette family he was there for justice, not revenge. Smith was sentenced to 210 days in jail, three years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine.

The family was not happy with the sentencing.

More: Metro Detroit crime news

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.