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Published December 18, 2013, 08:58 AM

Plea deal upsets family of Dickinson hit-and-run victim

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The family of a man who died in a hit-and-run incident in a Dickinson motel parking lot a year ago is upset about a plea deal that will put the driver behind bars for only three years.

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The family of a man who died in a hit-and-run incident in a Dickinson motel parking lot a year ago is upset about a plea deal that will put the driver behind bars for only three years.

Timothy Menges was accused of driving drunk in November 2012 and striking and killing Tracy Freer, 47, in a motel parking lot, after Freer confronted Menges for almost running over his dog.

Menges initially was charged with negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death — felonies for which he could have received 15 years in prison. He pleaded guilty this week to the second charge and prosecutors dropped the negligent homicide count.

Judge Dann Greenwood on Tuesday sentenced Menges to five years in prison with two years suspended, and gave him credit for time served, angering family members, according to The Dickinson Press and KXMB-TV.

"A few years ago, I wrote bad checks and I got more time than he's looking at right now," stepbrother John Stevens said. "That is not right. It is not justice. It is not fair."

Stark County prosecutors said the plea deal was reasonable given other recent sentences in the area. Menges' attorney, Ryan Heintz, said his client has cooperated with authorities and been a model prisoner.

"He's always been accepting of responsibility," Heintz said.

Freer's cousin, Debbie Dannenfelzer, said Menges was not responsible the night of the incident, driving drunk with no driver's license and no vehicle insurance.

"None of this would have had to happen had he obeyed the law," she said.

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