A 20-year old from Toulon was sentenced to twelve years in prison in connection with a 2011 car crash that killed three teenagers.
Morgan Blakey didn’t flinch when Judge Ted Hamer handed down his sentence. In real time, Blakey must serve 85% of the 12-year term, which equals just over 10 years.
“There are no winners today. Everyone in this case has lost,” Judge Hamer said. “It’s tragic and at the same time senseless. Young people make bad choices all the time, but this really went beyond a bad choice. Mr. Blakey’s conduct took away three lives. Three young lives,” he said.
Blakey was found guilty back in June of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide. Prosecutors say he blacked out behind the wheel on a country road in Henry County, after huffing a can of Ultra Dusting. Blakey was captured on store video at the local Walmart buying the aerosol can shortly before the crash.
Kelsey Clifford, 15, Levi Berg, 16, and Bradley Wood Jr, 18, were just along for the ride into town. All three died in the crash, and there’s no evidence they had any idea what Blakey was up to.
Two of the victims’ mothers chose to speak at Blakey’s sentencing, and talked about the day their lives changed forever.
“Never did we think we’d have to get a priest to give last rights to one our children. We never in a million years thought the last time we kissed our son it would be him lying on a table in the emergency room at Kewanee Hospital covered with a white sheet,” said Kathy Clifford, Kelsey’s mom. Kelsey, she said, was on the sophomore golf team at school and played drums and bass guitar in the band.
Angela Deffenbaugh talked about her son Bradley, and then asked Blakey some questions, which he never answered.
“I want to know do you regret your actions, are you sorry? Do you have nightmares about that day? Because I do,” she asked.
She said her son was a kind and compassionate young man who once donated his long hair to Locks of Love, to make wigs for cancer patients. His mom said Bradley continued to help others, even in death.
“Bradley was an organ donor. They said they couldn’t harvest any tissue, but his corneas were donated to two young men,” she said.
Blakey, a husband and father of twins, declined to comment in the courtroom when asked if he wanted to give an unsworn statement before he was sentenced.
“I wanted him to say he was sorry for what he’d done,” Deffenbaugh said after the hearing.
But the father of Bradley Wood said he was glad it was over, and there was no amount of prison time to ease his pain.
“I hope he learns a lesson. He could have got 100 years and it won’t make my boy come back,” Clifford said.
Blakey had a clean criminal history prior to the deadly crash.
“He robbed us of something very precious and we will never forgive him for that,” said Kathy Clifford. “Every time he celebrates Christmas, a birthday, or sees the sun rise or set, we want him to remember that Kelsey can’t. Every time he wakes up we want him to remember he had the ability to stop his action,” she said.