An Atlantic County man was sentenced Tuesday to 7-1/2 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident that took the life of a bicycling teen.
The victim's family, however, continues to assert that the actions of defendant William Simkins, now 33, were far more sinister, despite his being acquitted by a jury in September on a charge of second-degree vehicular homicide.
The Egg Harbor Township man deliberately pursued the victim, Jacob Broschard, 16, and two friends on Sept. 6, 2010, because one of them had knocked a side mirror off Simkins' car, the family contends.
At sentencing, "the victim's mother, father and two sisters asked the court for justice, stating that the crash was not an accident," according to a statement from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.
"I wasn't trying to hurt anyone that night. I wasn't chasing," Simkins told Superior Court Judge Michael Donio, according to the Atlantic City Press.
The victim's father, LeRoy Broschard, told the judge that was "real tough to swallow" and Mimi Broschard spoke directly to Simpkins, saying, "I know the kind of man you are. The decision you made that night caused my son to lose his life over a mirror. A mirror," according to the account at pressofatlanticcity.com.
After the collision on Jerome Avenue in Egg Harbor Township, Simkins drove off "without stopping to check on the victim or render aid," but two hours later turned himself in, according to the prosecutor's news release.
When Simkins' attorney, Lou Barbone, asked for a downgraded sentence, Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton pointed out that the defendant's criminal record included "nine arrests, a multitude of vehicular offenses, and a domestic violence incident," according to the news release.
After Simkins gets out of prison, his driving privileges will be suspended for two years.