PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – A Holly Ridge man has pleaded guilty to hitting and killing a Marine who was jogging along a Pender County road back in the summer.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, William Keith Genens, 58, entered guilty pleas on Tuesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving in connection with the death of 1st Lt. Justice Regine Stewart of Camp Lejeune.
Prosecutors say Stewart was jogging along N.C. 50 in Pender County on June 27, when Genens, who was driving a Ford F-150, fatally struck her. Officials believed Stewart died on impact.
Nearby homeowners who heard the collision came outside to speak to Genens, who had pulled over after the crash and was attempting to wave down a passing driver.
The homeowners told Genens that he should call 911, but he refused and instead called his adult children to get assistance for himself, prosecutors said. Bystanders attempted life-saving measures on Stewart but were unsuccessful.
Prosecutors say the investigation into the crash failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Genens was impaired at the time of the crash, so involuntary manslaughter was the highest charge that could be pursued.
Genens was given a split sentence of 16-29 months suspended, a 120-day active jail sentence, which he has to serve the first 60 days immediately and the other 60 days beginning in Dec., the month of Stewart’s birthday.
He will also be placed on 60 months probation and will be required to promote driver’s education.
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