A 48-year-old Shelton man was sentenced to more than 3 1/2 years in prison for striking a McCleary couple on a modified motorcycle and attempting to leave the scene.
Daniel D. Cultee was sentenced Monday in Grays Harbor Superior Court to 29 months each for two counts of vehicular assault and 43 months for one count of hit and run. The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning Cultee’s total sentence is the greatest of the three.
It was an emotional sentencing hearing, deputy prosecutor Katie Svoboda said. Judge Mark McCauley allowed an unusual amount of interaction between Cultee and the victims, Randy and Iva Madison. Randy Madison had already been on disability from a neck injury prior to the crash. Both were injured in the July 24 incident, and friends and neighbors have been banding together to raise money for the couple. Iva Madison’s recovery from a serious arm injury may take as long as nine months before she can return to her job as a bus driver for the McCleary School District, a post she’s held for more than 20 years.
Iva Madison told Cultee she forgave him, and Randy Madison interrupted during Cultee’s statement to the court to ask if he was really sorry, or just apologizing because he was in trouble. Cultee was emphatic that he was truly sorry, and offered any future earnings he might have to the Madisons.
He said he knew he could never truly make it up to them.
According to court documents, Cultee entered the Madisons’ lane and struck them.
After the accident, Cultee left the scene on foot. He told investigators “that people at the scene were yelling at him so he walked away figuring an officer would find him,” according to court documents.
Cultee was found walking west of the scene by a Washington State Patrol trooper who said Cultee was “obviously intoxicated and had blood on his person,” court documents stated. A blood test showed Cultee’s Blood Alcohol Content at 0.11 percent within two hours of driving.
Cultee told police he saw the motorcycle pull out of a driveway when it seemed to stall and apparently “lurched forward.” He said he thought it was crossing into his lane, swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid the motorcycle, then tried to correct back into his lane.
Witnesses to the accident told police Cultee told them he fell asleep at the wheel, and at least one witness claimed to smell alcohol on Cultee.
Cultee told police he had not been drinking and did not feel sleepy at the time of the accident.
In a written statement to the court, the Madisons described their injuries. Randy Madison’s neck injury has worsened, and he now has six fused vertebrae in his back and daily pain, according to their statement. His physical therapy has focused on raising his arms and holding his head upright.
Iva Madison suffered a broken vertebra in her back, a brain bleed and a clipped artery. Her arm injury required extensive surgery, she wrote, and she will permanently have pins in her arm to attach her tendons and ligaments. She was recently able to hold a pen again although she still suffers from numbness in her hand and fingers. She also had injuries to her knees and feet, and can only walk short distances.
“I pray I will be able to use my arm again,” she wrote. “We will never be the same.”