For 22 years and 357 days, Tim Morrison said the world was blessed to have his son Dylan in it.
But the last two years and 116 days, Morrison said, has been the toughest period of his life as his family has been wishing for closure from a freak accident that claimed his son.
The Morrison family received some closure Monday when Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman sentenced a Hamilton truck driver to six months in jail in connection with a fatal accident on Interstate 75 on March 28, 2011.
On that date, Dylan Morrison, 22, was driving from his family’s West Chester home to classes at the University of Cincinnati when an improperly secured tire flew off of a northbound tractor-trailer and smashed into Morrison’s minivan, which was traveling southbound near the Lockland exit. Morrison was pronounced dead at the scene.The driver, Paul Lallier, 64, was sentenced to six months at the Hamilton County Justice Center. Lallier also had his driver’s license suspended for five years, was ordered to pay court costs and serve three years’ probation. If he violates probation, which includes 120 hours of community service, Lallier will get an additional six months in jail.
Last month, Lallier accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to vehicular homicide and obstructing justice.
“We are pleased that there was punishment for what happened that day, but I no longer want to dwell on the events of that day. I want to remember we had a child, who was wonderful,” his father said. “I did a lot of work to try to better understand what happened that day. Now, I don’t need to. Now, I can focus on Dylan and the good times that we had.”
Hamilton County assistant prosecuting attorney David. L. Prem said the homicide charge stems from Lallier’s failure to properly inspect his truck and the obstructing justice was due to him leaving the scene and having the truck worked on after the incident.
“He didn’t set out that day to kill someone, but he was – in our opinion – negligent in not inspecting his truck or making sure it was roadworthy,” Prem said.
As Lallier sat before the judge, Tim Morrison, his wife, Lisa, and their daughter, Ashley, addressed the court.
“It is only by the grace of God that I can stand here today and tell you, in all honesty, that I have no anger towards you and that I forgive you,” Ashley said to Lallier. “Sometimes I have to forgive you every day, sometimes I have to forgive you several times a day, but you are forgiven. That doesn’t mean consequences are taken away.”
After the sentencing, the Morrisons said they wanted to create a “Dylan Law,” which would require different penalties for drivers involved in fatal crashes.
“When something a driver fails to do results in a fatality, I think there should be more than just a five-year loss of their driver’s license,” Tim Morrison said. “That, to me, should be changed.”