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News Franklin man sentenced for death in vehicular accident

Superior Court Judge Phil Ginn handed down his sentence for a Franklin man who lost control of his truck and drove off a road last October, killing 19-year-old Parker Mathis and seriously injuring Jesse Welch, 23.

Donald Thomas Courtney, 20, of Hidden Valley Road pled guilty to one felony count of death by vehicle, one felony count of serious injury by vehicle and one misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired.

Courtney was sentenced to serve 20 months of incarceration in a North Carolina Department of Corrections facility for his injury by vehicle charge. Courtney received a suspended sentence of three years of supervised probation for the charge stemming from Mathis’ death and must serve two days in the Macon County Jail for five consecutive years on the anniversary of Mathis’ death.

Mathis was killed in the single-vehicle accident in which the Ford F-150 extended- cab pickup truck driven by Courtney failed to make a curve and rolled down an embankment on West Old Murphy Road.

Courtney and another passenger, Jeremy Taro, 20, were treated for minor injuries and released the same day from Angel Medical Center. A fourth passenger, Jesse Evan Welch, 23, who had been sitting in the rear of the truck cab with Parker, was admitted into intensive care for his injuries.

Parker, who was flown by emergency helicopter to Mission Hospital in Asheville, was pronounced dead the next day.

Tests of blood samples taken after the accident revealed that Courtney had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.8. According to a search warrant issued on Dec. 22, Courtney told staff at Angel Medical that before getting into his truck he had consumed eight beers and had smoked marijuana.

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