Man To Be Jailed Yearly On Date Of Fatal Crash

HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota man will spend every May 10th in jail for the next ten years for a crash that killed his best friend.

A judge in Dakota County District Court imposed the unusual sentence Monday for Matthew Russell Willis. The 26-year-old was speeding on an Inver Grove Heights road May 10, 2008 and crashed his car into an SUV, killing a passenger in his BMW, Eric Nardini. Willis and two people in the SUV were severely injured.

Judge Kathryn Messerich said the staggered sentence was to remind Willis of the crime he committed. The Pioneer Press reports Willis was also ordered to serve 60 days in jail immediately in addition to 30 days beginning each May 10th.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • married to the truth

    Finally a judge that is worth having around. Kudos. The village idiot of a guy is lucky to only serve that little amount of time. Bmw owners are a silly breed!

    • Look

      There is an interesting and brainless comment. What kind of sterotype is this? Maybe I should say all angry comments on this thread are by a silly breed of people. Now that wouldn’t be too nice would it? I just hate to see people hiding behind their computers and thinking they know everything. When cases like these are complicated. I just wonder what kind of village idiot thinks that people who make mistakes need to rot in hell. But I suppose you have never made a mistake you regret. Wait, that’s right, we’re all human and to err is human.

  • Jeff

    The article made no mention of him being drunk, and he serves a month in jail every May 10 for the next ten years, plus 60 days immediately, which equals a year in jail.

  • I read complete article

    Huh? read the last sentence: “60 days in jail immediately in addition to 30 days beginning each May 10th”. That makes 60 now and 30 each each year for 10 years. that comes to 360 days, still not enough but better than the 1 day you read.

  • Read Carefully

    It says he was speeding, not driving drunk. and it also says he will spend 30 days per year beginning on May 10th of each year.

    • Ben O.

      That’s indeed what it says.
      I guess that’s about as painful and maybe fair as it can get. I don’t see alcohol as a factor but do see stupidity. He’ll likely never forget it – how could he when it’ll stare him in the eyes every year for 30 days…not to mention it was his best friend. Imagine that haunts the dickens out of him by itself.

      Hope he has some means to be self-employed as I sense most employers won’t buy into this 30 days every year thing. If he ends up in the system and us taxpayers pay the tab then this could be a stupid thing in the long run and a year or whatever on the front end makes more sense. Time shall tell

      • Look

        They offer work release. SO NO WORRIES. You can rest assured he will keep his job. And have any of you ever been speeding? Chances are yes. And this time it ended up badly. Any one of your mistakes could have done the same. Should everyone else who has sped get their licenses taken away? Of course not. But lets not judge others for all of us have done something regretful too.

        • TimP

          I have never done anything wrong. Just ask all my supporters…er I mean friends. Thats why I can run for leader of the Tea world.

  • Ed

    What a nice judge.

    • Clarence

      I agree! What a nice, forgiving, liberal judge to let such a nice remorseful young man off the hook like this. No drunk speeding driver should ever have to even go to court for killing anyone in an accident. Just let all the drunk drivers off-the-hook, after all, the damage is already done!

  • Patrick Shull

    I am all for this punishment and there is a judge that has a brain.

    Now if the law would turn around and make it mandatory for all DWI and DUI’s that are involved in fatal accidents the driver that is under the influence to get the same time as someone who just goes out and kills someone. I mean come on If I killed someone with a gun or a knife I would get 17 years at least and if I kill the same person while being drunk and driving my car I might get 1 year in prison. In my mind this makes no sense and the laws need to be changed now to where if you are driving drunk and or yeah on the cell phone or texting you should get the same punishment everyone else gets and that is 17 plus years in prison. Oh I forgot they won’t change this law because there are to many Senators, Governors, and other high ranking public officials who are constantly drunk and are killing people while being intoxicated. For example, Governor of North Dakota a few years back, Senator Ted Kennedy, and many many more that have been busted drinking and driving and killed someone in the process. So nope this law won’t change because politicians need a scapegoat and this is the scapegoat of being drunk.

  • Bad Joke

    What’s the difference between a BMW and a porcupine?
    WELL! the porcupine -The pricks are on the outside.

    • weee

      RIGHT ON !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • randy weaver

    and he can tell everyone for the next 10 years on how i spent my summer vacation

  • Joanne

    The judge gave the young man a second chance. She also wants to make sure he dosen’t forget the pain he has caused other people. His sentence will be with him forever.

    We’ve got to start somewhere. This is just a first step.

    • Todd

      I agree. I am sure he also lost his license for a long time and hopefully he will have to pay dearly, both in fines and penalties and restitution to the familes that were involved. They deserve every dime he owns. I also agree that the he should serve more time but the differenc between him shooting or stabbing someone is that it was a mistake, a big mistake, but still a mistake. His life as he knows it is pretty much over as I am sure they will garnish his salary for the lawsuits. Letting him keep working at least provides some financial compensation for the familys lives ruined by this idiot.

    • Clarence

      Hey lady, tell that to the victims family!!

  • randy

    This is what is wrong with our justice system. I know someone who was forced to spend a year in jail, on his first offense, for a burglary. Taking a life should be considered taking a life and given equal punishment. I do not know of anyone who would say a burglary is just as serious of a crime as taking someones life but MN courts punish them the same way.

    • Look

      An eye for an eye is animalistic. Punishment doesn’t make you better. Teaching does. Maybe the probation and the lectures he will attend will encourage others to learn from this as well as he did already. Some people actually do make mistakes. Clearly you think you haven’t but you have. So really this is more productive than sitting in a jail cell for the rest of life. Wouldn’t you wish you could have a second chance if it were you? What if your friends got in a car crash and one died and the driver friend survived. Would you want him to die as well?

  • Samantha

    You shouldnt say stuff like that! Especially online where others can read it. Keep your nasty comments to yourself!

    • Samantha

      Not discriminating.. Just stating an issue

  • Jay

    You call that a judge?? Not enough is being done to STOP these offenders! If he was driving drunk and killed or mamed a person, the laws need to reflect the importance of a human life by setting stronger laws in place with sentences appropriate in nature to the value of life. Thousand dollar fines, a year in jail just isnt making these people stop and think. Stiff penalties have to be doled out, no plea deals accepted. Lengthy jail/prison sentences need to happen along with reimbursement to the families for hospitalization/funeral costs for the injuries or deaths they caused. UNTIL we get lawmakers and our judges to stand up to this and let people know their actions are not acceptable we might as not have law. You want to play then you WILL pay dearly!!

  • Jennifer W.

    That is going to make it hard for him to ever get a good job for 10 years. What employer wants to loose their employee for a whole month each year. It is bad enough they have to guarantee jobs for military people, now they loose an employee for a month each year. He is going to be un-employable. Can we say Welfare?

  • Minor Details

    This Article doesn’t give enough info. How fast is “speeding”? Was it 65 in a 60? was it 70? was he going 100? Was it dark? Was he familiar with the road? How was visibility? What does his driving recored look like?

    Don’t have enough to go on to form opinions,

  • Michele

    You know, when I read the words “May 10”, I got chills. May 10 is a bad day for me, for some reason. I dread it every year.

    So maybe I have a different perspective than some here. I think this is a brilliant judgment. This person will not be allowed to forget. JUST when he gets back into his life — WHAM! Here comes the reminder that he killed his best friend.

    It’s like something the Greek gods would have delivered.

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