Man sentenced to 58 months in hit-and-run

A man who fled from the scene of an accident last year that seriously injured a Tiffin man was sentenced Thursday to 58 months in prison.

When Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff asked the victim what sentence he would impose if he were judge, Jeffrey A. Wise told him he would impose the maximum sentence and not allow him to drive.

“He drove away from the scene and left me to die,” Wise said.

Terry W. Westerman, 35, had pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault, a third-degree felony, and failure to stop after an accident, a fifth-degree felony, in connection to the July 15 accident that seriously injured Wise, 53.

Law enforcement has said Westerman was highly impaired.

Westerman lost control of his vehicle on SR 53 near CR 38 and struck Wise’s vehicle, forcing it off of the road and into a utility pole. Wise was transported by Life Flight to a Toledo hospital for his injuries.

Westerman, who was not injured, left the scene of the accident and later was located at his residence.

Before his sentence was announced Thursday, Westerman read aloud two letters, one to Wise and the other to Shuff.

“I wish I could take all that pain that I caused away,” Westerman read from his letter to Wise.

He also asked for forgiveness from Wise and his family and said he has been praying for them.

“I hope somehow something good can come of this tragedy,” he read.

In his letter to Shuff, Westerman apologized for his actions and his poor choices. He also said he would take his punishment with honor and grace.

Westerman said since the day of the accident, he has quit drinking and regularly attends church.

Wise also spoke Thursday and said he wanted to forgive Westerman.

“My heart goes out to him, seriously,” Wise said.

Brian Boos, assistant Seneca County prosecutor, had asked Shuff to impose a 71-month sentence. Boos said Wise suffered physically, financially and psychologically as a result of the accident.

Boos said Westerman’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash and that by leaving the scene of the accident, Westerman showed no concern for Wise.

Wise’s three children also spoke, telling Shuff their father still is living in a nursing home due to his injuries.

They said Wise must use a walker or cane and he has problems with his vision and his arm.

“My father was a very independent man. Seeing how he is today it really broke all our hearts,” said Brandon Wise, one of Wise’s children.