GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport man was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for his role in an accident that left his teenage cousin dead.
Jermel Maurice Bogan, 27, pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in the death of 15-year old Elisha Skinner.
Prosecutors said on the night of January 22, 2012, Bogan was driving down 34th Street in Gulfport when he tried to pass another vehicle. That's when Bogan's vehicle struck Skinner, who was walking home on the south side of the street.
Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker said if Bogan had chosen to go trial, a witness would have testified that after hearing a collision, the car driven by Bogan stopped briefly in the middle of the road and then sped off.
"After listening to the 911 call, investigators with the Gulfport Police Department put out a description of the vehicle to local media that led to several tips from the community. A warrant was issued for Bogan after investigators were able to take those tips and other information to determine that Bogan was the driver of the vehicle," Parker said.
At the sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon, Elisha Skinner's family told the court that even though the eighth grader was loved by many and would forever be missed, that they did not hold bitterness in their heart.
Bogan apologized to the family and said his actions in not stopping to check on the teen would haunt him every day, and he hoped that after he served his time the family could forgive him.
Prosecutors said one thing the judge considered in sentencing Bogan was the fact that he was on parole for burglary at the time of the accident.