It was an emotional day for the family of Amber McMillin and Nicholas White as Dale Hite was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.
McMillin and White had been killed in a car accident with Hite as the driver. On October 16, 2009, officers from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department were investigating a call of someone manufacturing methamphetamine and when officers arrived on scene and began searching for evidence, a vehicle approached the residence and then suddenly sped from the scene which was approximately one quarter mile north of County Road 600 North on County Road 700 East in Grovertown. As police pursued the vehicle on 600 North, the vehicle’s headlights turned off and all the officer could see was the taillights. The vehicle then went off the road at 10320 East 600 North and ran into some trees. Police indicate that the vehicle was traveling 124 miles per hour at the time of the crash. Amber McMillin and Nicholas White, both of Plymouth, were ejected from the vehicle and died of injuries at the scene. Police found that Dale Hite, who was also injured in that incident, had been driving the vehicle and police found methamphetamine in Hite’s pants pocket.
Hite was later charged in this incident on eight counts of which a jury found him guilty on June 1, 2012: two counts of Resisting Law Enforcement Resulting in Death, two counts of Reckless Homicide and one count of Resisting Law Enforcement, Possession of Methampetamine, Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign, and Failure to use Headlights from Dusk to Dawn.
Hite’s sentencing hearing was held yesterday afternoon.
The mother of Nicholas White’s daughter gave an emotional statement to Judge Kim Hall yesterday and she explained that their daughter would never know her father as she was only six months old when White died. Nicholas White’s father and mother also submitted statements which were read by Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan.
Hite then took the stand and showed remorse by explaining how sorry he was for the incident and that his addiction to methamphetamine took over his actions that night which ultimately lead to the deaths of McMillin and White.
His remorse was given a little too late.
Deputy Prosecutor Ryan stated to the Judge that she found Hite to be a cold individual who didn’t even show remorse until his sentencing hearing. His lack of remorse was evident when he stated that he wanted to use some of the parts of the wreckage to place in other cars of which he was in the process of fixing. Ryan stated that Hite’s friends had just died and had no emotion as to their deaths when he made that statement.
Hite’s Defense Attorney, Dale Allen, argued that Hite’s addiction to the methamphetamine “poison” has caused all of this pain and Hite needed to seek help in order to get back on track. Allen stated that Hite had been in trouble with drugs before this incident and said it was the fault of the justice system in that treatment programs weren’t mandated in any of his other court appearances. He said that if Hite had sought help with treatment programs before this incident, this tragedy may not have happened.
Ryan fired back at that stating that it was Hite’s responsibility to seek help with his addiction problem and not anyone else’s responsibility. It was his choice whether or not he wanted to seek treatment. She added that there are several free programs to attend to have the ability to help one defeat drug abuse.
The Judge agreed with Ryan and further stated that Hite’s criminal history “carried great weight” in his final decision. The Judge also agreed with Ryan about Hite’s lack of remorse. The Judge stated that he “got chills” when Hite spoke of taking parts off the car that had Hite had been driving that killed his friends for use in another vehicle. He also stated that without a proper sentence, he would be right back out on the street and continuing to take methamphetamine and this kind of incident could happen again.
The Judge also found no mitigating factors, or events in Hite’s life that would be a positive influence during this sentence. The Judge only found aggravating factors, and he said “those clearly outweigh the mitigating factors”.
The courtroom then was still with a few sounds of sniffling from emotional family members and the sound of the clock ticking in the background.
Judge Hall finally handed down Hite’s sentence. On the two charges of Resisting Law Enforcement Resulting in Death, he was sentenced 15 years on each charge to be served consecutively. He was also sentenced to three years on the charge of Possession of Methamphetamine which will be served concurrently. The other charges were merged in the sentence imposed. In all, Hite will serve 30 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department for the deductible paid to repair a squad car damaged in the incident. He was also ordered to attend a methamphetamine treatment program while in prison. He was given 217 credit for time served in the Starke County Jail.
Hite was then lead out of the courtroom to serve his time in the Indiana Department of Corrections. The family of the deceased were relieved to hear the sentence and they were given a little closure for the loss of their loved ones in the incident.