KENTON, Ohio – A judge decided two high school athletes can complete the football season this fall before they serve 60-day jail sentences for a car crash caused by a decoy deer placed in a country road. Two teens were injured.
"I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm going to. I see positive things about participating in football," Judge Gary McKinley said Tuesday.
Dailyn Campbell, a 16-year-old quarterback for Kenton High, and 17-year-old teammate Jesse Howard will serve their time in a juvenile detention center. They were also ordered to write a 500-word essay titled "Why I Should Think Before I Act."
Last November, teens stole the decoy from a man's home, created a base to help it stand upright because it had only two legs, and then drove up and down the road, watching as drivers swerved to avoid it, prosecutor Brad Bailey said. He said Howard did not stop the prank.
Robert Roby Jr. crashed his car into a pole and broke his neck, collarbone, arm and leg. His passenger, Dustin Zachariah, suffered brain damage, Bailey said.
Campbell and Howard pleaded no contest to vehicular vandalism and other charges. Three other teenagers are awaiting trial in the fall.
"None of these guys will ever know what our sons have gone through," Roby's mother, Mary, wrote to the court. "If they get nothing for what they've done, they'll do something worse later. They need more than a slap on the wrist."
Both Campbell and Howard apologized at their sentencing.
"I think every day that I hurt someone, and that hurts me inside," Howard said.