Drunken Driver Who Joked After Fatally Striking Husband, Wife Gets Maximum Sentence
A Madison County Judge imposed the maximum sentence for a drunk driver who killed a husband and wife, and laughed and joked at the crash scene.
Prosecutor Eamon Costello called Timothy Ackley one of the most callous offenders he had ever seen.
Ackley pleaded guilty to a drunk driving crash on April 7 that killed Mark and Jo Ann Williams. Ackley was driving a truck that crossed the centerline and collided with their motorcycle in West Jefferson.
Dash camera video shows Ackley stumbling and slurring through his field sobriety test. Ackley appeared amused and laughed as he was arrested. A short time later, inside the cruiser, he showed he was aware of the severity of the situation.
"Did they get the dead bodies next to my truck?" he asked a law enforcement official. He then laughs and says, “I’m going to jail.”
In a Madison County courtroom on Friday, a somber Ackley faced the consequences of his actions. He also faced the victims’ loved ones.
"She was a nurse at Maryhaven, a drug and alcohol center, for eight years. She helped hundreds of people work through their addictions. If Timothy Ackley had gone there to get help, she would have been one of the nurses to take care of him,” said Ann Neal, Jo Ann Wiliams’ mother.
Williams' daughter compared the tragedy to a hurricane that ripped through her family, leaving no one untouched.
"My 18-year-old daughter ran out of the house, overcome with anger and sadness. We found her hours later, at the cemetery in her pajamas, sleeping on her nana and papaw's graves…. that's pain I can't put into words,” said Melissa Schopp, Jo Ann Williams’ daughter.
Julie Arthur is Mark Williams' sister. It's almost too cruel to believe, but Mark is the third brother she's lost to a drunk driver.
“How many coffins have you had to pick out for a brother? How many of their children have you tried to comfort?” she asked Ackley.
Ackley listened, slumped over and silent, until it was his turn to speak.
"I do understand the amount of hatred… you have towards me. But know this, I hate myself for the callous actions even more. Please know that this comes from my heart,” Ackley said.
Ackley was sentenced to 16 years in prison, the maximum allowed, with no chance of early release.
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Oct. 23, 2012: Video Shows Madison County Man Laughing, Joking After Causing Fatal Crash
April 11, 2012: Family Remembers Couple Struck, Killed On Motorcycle
April 8, 2012: Alleged Drunken Driver Faces Charges In Connection With Couple's Death