Harper sentenced to 30 years for fatal hit-and-run

8:35 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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  • Curtis Scott Harper 2012 mugshot taken after hit-and-run charges.

(WBIR, Knoxville) Curtis Harper has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a hit-and-run that killed a pregnant woman, her unborn child and a good Samaritan.

He faced a possible maximum sentence of 44 years, 11 months and 29 days in prison in his role in the deaths of Nelson Soto, Sr., Chasity Thornell and Thornell's unborn daughter. Harper hit and killed the pregnant woman and the good Samaritan, after friend Sarah Tinder's car ran out of gas on Washington Pike. Harper then left the scene of the crime.

A jury found him guilty of vehicular homicide, DUI and other charges in April.

"I want to apologize to the families that I've hurt. I had no intention on hurting anybody," Harper said to the victims' families before sentencing Wednesday.

Harper faced three counts of vehicular homicide by DUI (each carrying 12 years in jail), six years for tampering with evidence, six years for leaving the scene of an accident causing death, and 11 months and 29 days for reckless endangerment.

Judge Leibowitz sentenced Harper to 11 years each on the vehicular homicides (two will run consecutively, one concurrently), six years for tampering with evidence and two years for leaving the scene. The reckless endangerment charges sentence will run concurrently.

Despite the less severe sentence, Thornell's family said justice was served.

"I think she made the right decision with the time she has given him. You know even though you won, there's that sense that no one wins," said Stephanie Thornell, Chasity's mother.

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