WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It was exactly one year ago today that tow truck driver John "Junior" Colville was hit and killed while helping a motorist in Wilmington. Today his killer learned his fate in court.
"I feel like we got justice today for my husband," Colville's widow Carol said. "I know it will never bring him back."
Anthony Thompson, 51, took responsibility for killing Colville one year ago.
"What happened today is that the judge heard all the evidence that we've known and just about gave him everything he could," District Attorney Ben David said.
Witnesses say Colville was helping a woman change her tire at Carolina Beach Rd. and McQuillan Dr. when he was hit and thrown into the air. He later died from his injuries.
Thompson had previously been convicted of DWI eight times. Monday he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, habitual impaired driving and hit and run in the crash that killed Colville.
"This is a crime that shouldn't happen," Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Troy Pope said. "There is always another avenue you can take. There is money in your pocket, there are cell phones, there are cabs, you can walk. There is always a different choice."
Colville's widow says she is now going to focus on pushing the "Move Over Law," which requires motorists to change lanes or at least slow down to give safe clearance for emergency and rescue vehicles.
"If you can, slow down, move over, give the guys a working chance to help others, so no one else will have to go through what I am going through today," she said.
Prosecutors said in court today that Thompson's license was revoked in 1984 and has not been valid since.
A judge sentenced Thompson to between 19 years and 23 years 10 months in prison.