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Dakota Sutton to serve 20 years in prison for April 2013 fatal hit and run

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Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - The family of an Oakes man, killed in a hit and run, say they hope to move on with their lives, now that the man charged in his death has been sentenced.

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28-year-old Reavis Dandridge died in April 2013, after being run over on a county road.

23-year-old Dakota Sutton was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison for two Class B felonies: manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

Reavis Dandridge's family says no sentence would have been enough for the loved one they lost, but now they can try to move forward.

Willie Dandridge/Victim’s Mother: "I'm glad it's over. I can get on with grieving and try to live again."

It's been more than a year since the cold April night that Reavis Dandridge died.

Willie: "He was somebody and he was loved, our family loved him."

The 28-year-old father of four was run over and killed on a county road near Oakes.

Marco Morgan/Victim’s Brother: "Nothing will bring my brother back, but I'm just glad that this is finally over with."

Dakota Sutton, who he had been out at a bar with that night, was charged with felony murder. But Sutton made a plea deal, reducing his charge to manslaughter. That deal was a bitter subject for the victim's family; they wanted to go to trial on murder charges.

Willie: "I did wish that they could have heard the things that went on. But, it worked out in the end."

Nine people, most of them family members, gave victim testimony.

Willie: "We're a strong family. We're united, God keeps us together."

They said the way Sutton treated their loved one was inhumane.

He drove away from the scene, returned a half hour later, and loaded Reavis into the flatbed of his truck to bring him to the hospital. When Sutton took the stand, he admitted to running over Dandridge, but said it was an accident. Reavis's family says they hoped to hear an apology - but it never came.

Dennita Hall/Victim’s Cousin: "It was unfortunate to not see any brokenness and any accountability. And like I said, may God have mercy on his soul."

Even though the legal battle is over, it's a loss the family says they'll be feeling for a long time to come.

Marco: "Anybody who said that in time all wounds heal, they must have never lost a part of their heart before."

Sutton was also sentenced 30 days’ time served for DUI.

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Becky Parker
Becky Parker - Becky Parker joined the WDAY 6 News team in July of 2012. She was born and raised in Williston, North Dakota.  She graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science.   At NDSU, Becky served as News Director for ‘SU TV News, the university’s first ever student-run newscast. She was also an anchor and reporter for the organization.   Before coming to WDAY, Becky was reporting for Lakeland Public Television at their Brainerd, MN bureau. She also spent internship hours at WDAZ in Grand Forks and KVRR Fox in Fargo.   If you have story ideas or questions, please e-mail Becky at bparker@wday.com
(701) 241-5322
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