BISBEE — A Whetstone man who failed in his attempt to back out of a plea deal was ordered to prison Monday for leaving the scene of a 2017 injury collision on State Route 82 in which a motorcyclist was critically injured.
Clarence Wall was sentenced by Judge Tim Dickerson to a four-year term agreed to as part of a January agreement in which he admitted driving home Oct. 31, 2017 after he turned his pickup truck in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
The motorcyclist landed in a ditch and was found by a passing U.S. Border Patrol agent after crawling to the side of the road with a severed leg and fractured pelvis.
Prior to sentencing, Wall, now 72, read a prepared statement in which he contended he didn’t understand the plea deal due to medical and mental health issues. He also alleged a court-appointed attorney failed for eight months to address mitigating factors in the case.
Wall’s statement, which accused Dickerson of bias and impartiality, did not mention the victim’s name or express remorse for the accident which left the motorcyclist, 30, with ongoing medical problems.
Dickerson noted Wall appeared to have “an unrealistic hope that things might have a different outcome” and added that while Wall “is focused on the impact to himself, this Court is also focused on the victim and society.”
The judge denied Wall’s motion to withdraw from the plea deal and then moved into the sentencing hearing.
The judge noted Wall never called 911 to report the incident, a decision he said likely caused the motorcyclist “extended suffering.” The victim and his family elected to not attend the sentencing hearing but did submit impact statements to the court.
Dickerson said he considered Wall’s military service, lack of criminal history, and letters of support but saw no reason to deviate from the previously agreed to four-year sentence. Wall, who is eligible for release after 40 months, faced up to 12 years in prison if found guilty at trial.
Three uniformed Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers attended the sentencing. It was troopers who located Wall’s heavily damaged truck at his home about one-half mile away from the scene. The truck showed signs of recent repairs, along with biological evidence which matched the victim.