Updated Wed., 9:34 a.m.
A Concord man was convicted Tuesday of charges stemming from the November death of Davidson College professor Robert Whitton, who was struck by a car on Concord Road.
Ricky L. Stacks was convicted of misdemeanor death by vehicle in connection with the Nov. 3 accident on Concord Road, near Faculty Drive. The court clerk’s office confirmed Wednesday morning he won’t serve jail time or pay a fine because he received what’s called a “prayer for judgment continued.” The charges could have resulted in probation or a short jail term.
Professor Whitton, a popular mathematics professor, was walking home from campus on the night of Nov. 3. Mr. Stacks was eastbound in his 2005 Jeep SUV when he struck Prof. Whitton as he walked in a marked crosswalk on Concord Road, near the entrance to the college’s Richardson Stadium.
Prof. Whitton was taken by helicopter to the hospital with what rescue personnel said were “life threatening” injuries. He died on Nov. 11.
Davidson police detective Steve Ingram was at the daylong trial on Tuesday at Mecklenburg District Court. He said Tuesday’s testimony was “emotional.” “It’s certainly a tragedy for all of those that were involved,” he said.
Both Mr. Stacks and Prof. Whitton’s widow, Amy Diamond of Davidson, made statements at the end of testimony. Mr. Stacks said he was sorry for what had happened. Ms. Diamond said Tuesday night that she and family members were not seeking a severe punishment.
“As a family, we bear no malice toward Mr. Stacks, but he is culpable,” she said. “I don’t feel that there’s anything to be gained from a severe punishment.”
“There was a crime committed, there was an accident, but he was punished. He said, ‘I think every day – these were his words – I think of this every day. It’s always with you,’” Ms. Diamond said.
Since the accident, Davidson town officials have made some improvements at crosswalks around town, including placing signs in the middle of the road reminding drivers that they must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks.
May 6, 2012, “Video: A musical tribute to Robert Whitton” – coverage of a May 5 concert and march on Concord Road in memory of the popular professor.
Nov. 7, 2011, obituary, “Robert Whitton, 67″
Nov. 4, 2011, “Davidson professor struck by car, critically hurt.”