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Garrettsville Man Sentenced for Fatal Crash

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It was sentencing day for a Garrettsville man who caused a chain-reaction crash that left one man dead, and critically injured that man's best friend.

Chadwick Spence, 44, did not get the maximum sentence, but will spend the next three years in prison for reckless homicide and vehicular assault.

"I am a cripple forever.  I can no longer ride my motorcycle,"  said 67-year-old Tom Schlappal of Painsville.

Schlappal says on the morning of August 23, 2010, he and his best friend, 54-year-old David Williamson were on a road trip to Kentucky when suddenly the Dodge Ram truck they were riding in was struck by a Buick Regal coming from the opposite direction on Route 528 in Parkman Township.  Williamson was pronounced dead on the scene.

"I look at my older sister whose engaged now.  It should be my dad walking her down the aisle,"  said Sara Williamson tearfully as she read statements from the family before a Geauga County judge delivered his sentence.

Spence says he was not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident but simply fell asleep behind the wheel.

While his attorney's admitted he was taking methadone for pain caused in a previous accident, state experts failed to prove methadone was a factor in the crash.

Spence also addressed the court before learning his fate an issued an apology.  He said, "Today, I take responsibility for my actions and ask for your forgiveness."

Spence's driver's license will be suspended for five years after he's released from prison, but his legal troubles will be far from over.  He was arrested last August for allegedly selling liquid meth to an undercover officer.  That case is still pending.