RAVENNA– Joshua Frey stood before Judge John Enlow on Monday having earlier pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular assault and operating a vehicle under the influence.
Frey was driving a van in the predawn hours of November 13, 2011 when he went off the road, clipped two mailboxes then went left of center hitting an SUV driven by Clayton Hull, a 20-year-old wide receiver for the University of Mount Union.
Hull was thrown from his SUV and left to lay in the middle of route 44 near Ravenna with a broken neck and a damaged nerve in his right arm.
Frey ran home from the scene and reported his van stolen.
On Monday, Frey offered an apology, saying he accepts responsibility for what he did.
“I didn’t mean to hurt somebody,” Frey told Judge Enlow, adding “If I could change what happened that night, I would.”
He then turned to Clayton Hull who was in the courtroom with his parents and offered a tearful apology.
“I ask for your forgiveness. I understand you probably will never be able to forgive me and I accept that,” said Frey, facing a sentence of as long as 18 months in prison.
In the year since the crash, Hull has had to endure physical therapy to do just about anything again.
“I had literally no use in my right arm from my elbow down. I couldn’t move plus I was in a neck brace and I couldn’t lift my arms over my head or use my hand,” said Hull. “Pretty much anything I had to do was with my left hand. I couldn’t put a shirt on. I couldn’t take a shower. I couldn’t walk more than down the hallway,” he added.
A talented wide receiver for the Mt. Union Purple Raiders, Hull was not able to play through his team’s entire post season in 2011, including a nationally televised national championship.
He missed classes and has not been able to play through the 2012 season in which his team is returning to another national championship game.
Hull said he felt nothing for Frey as he listened to his apology in court.
“It didn’t really affect me. I mean he had several chances to be sorry you know. Right when he did it, he ran away. The next day he lied about it you know. That night he made a false report. When it was time to own up to it the first time, the pretrial in here, he lied about it, said he wasnt drinking. He ran from it the whole way and now coming into sentencing, he’s just going to say ‘well I’m choked up and going to say I’m sorry.’ You know, you’re just scared you know. I’m sorry, he’s just scared of going to prison.”
Hull’s parents also addressed the court.
His father, Tim Hull, told Judge Enlow that somebody needs to be held accountable and he was relying on the justice system to do the right thing.
“Nobody should have to go through the acts of somebody else’s carelessness,” he later told Fox 8.
Judge Enlow sentenced Frey to 12 months in prison, allowing him to remain out until January 4.
In addition, he suspended Frey’s driver’s license for one year, added more than $300 in court costs and ordered as restitution that Frey pay the Hulls’ outstanding medical expenses.
Frey made no comments as he left the courthouse.
Clayton Hull, meanwhile, hopes to be able to play football again next year.
His therapists have cleared him to play again from his neck injury; although he admits his right hand is still not back to where it was before the accident.
His father says the therapists have called his progress ‘a miracle,’ saying it was the first time they had ever released someone with his injuries to return to playing football.
“We’re all about moving forward,” said Tim Hull. “All about living the dreams we base our lives on, you know hope and so forth and I look forward to watching him play.”