Man sentenced to nearly a year in Avon hit-and-run | VailDaily.com

Man sentenced to nearly a year in Avon hit-and-run

Michael Glass
Jessie Mosher |

EAGLE — Michael Glass created two justice system firsts: one, when he fell into a tearful embrace with his victim in a hit and run asking for forgiveness; and two, in an earlier instance when he asked the judge to put him back in jail.

He got both.

Glass was sentenced to almost a year in jail and five years probation for his hit-and-run in Avon, leaving his victim in the road in 4 degree weather during a snow storm on Dec. 9, 2013. The victim, who asked that his name not be used, lay in the dark for 40 minutes before another motorist happened along to help.

It would be easy to judge someone who did that, but the victim said he does not.

“Is he a criminal? I don’t think so,” he said. “But we cannot turn back the time. We must move forward.”

Glass was nervous and emotional as he addressed Judge Katharine Sullivan during Monday’s sentencing hearing.

“I’ve never been in this situation before and I know what I did was evil. I should never have left him on that cold night,” Glass said.

As Glass turned to apologize to the man, the victim stood in the audience, strode to the podium and they embraced as they both burst into tears.

“I praise God for his attitude. I do not deserve his forgiveness,” Glass said as his voice cracked.

Both men worked at The Westin, although the victim did not know who had hit him and Glass had not yet admitted it. Glass said that occasionally he even held the door for the victim, who was struggling with crutches and a compound fracture from the incident.

Glass was around four months before he left the Vail Valley for a job in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area. While he was here, he worked at The Westin.

“Even though I wanted to do the right thing, I did not. I was a coward,” Glass told Judge Sullivan.

Glass is 25 years old. He had been in jail, and was released to take a holiday trip home to Georgia. When he returned he asked Judge Russell Granger to put him back in jail, something Granger was willing to do, although he said he had rarely been asked that before.

Glass served 132 days prior to Monday’s sentencing, even though he could have posted the $15,000 bond to get out of jail. He’ll also do 240 hours of community service.

“It’s to his and his family’s credit that they did not bond him out,” Kirwan said.

Glass’s attorney, Jim Little called the sentence “fair,” and said he was grateful for the victim’s recovery and gracious outlook.

“I have no doubt that Mr. Glass is a good person. We all know from being in these courtrooms, good people do bad things,” said Joe Kirwan, the prosecutor handling the case. “Drinking and driving does kill people. But for the grace of God and a good Samaritan, we’d be looking at a homicide case.”

Sullivan pointed out that Glass went to great lengths to hide what he had done.

He went to Utah to have his windshield repaired. When he sold the car to a mechanic, he said the damage happened when he hit a deer, Kirwan said.

Glass was caught because he told his ex-girlfriend, and she told one of her friends. That woman told Avon Police Department.

What happened that night

The victim was walking home along U.S. Highway 6, west of Avon Road, at about 2 a.m. that night when he was hit, Avon police said.

Glass was long gone when police arrived that night, and investigators were left scrambling for clues. They found one tiny bit of evidence, a fastener from a front bumper. They spent an incredible number of hours investigating, said Bob Ticer, Avon police chief. They put the word out to the public, but nothing came back. They even looked in every auto body repair shop in a 50-mile radius of Avon. Still nothing.

Then Ticer received an email from someone in Georgia saying they had third-party information about it.

Ticer dispatched Sgt. Ken Dammen and Deputy Chief Greg Daly to the Chattanooga area to investigate. They interviewed the person who sent the email and a few others, and quickly learned that Glass had since sold his car, a 2001 Toyota Corolla, to someone in Chickamauga, Georgia.

Accident reconstruction investigators determined that the car had likely been involved in a collision with a pedestrian, Ticer said. Then it was time to interview Glass, who admitted most of it, Ticer said.