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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Prosecutors said in court today that Thompson’s license was revoked in 1984 and has not been valid since.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.

Comment on this Story

  • Joanie

    RIP John. Hopefully justice will be served and this thing will never see the light of day again. We love you and we miss you.

  • terrence stokely

    Sorry for you’ll lost but its not only the drunk drivers fault because he has 8cases he should have been in jail after that’s the law or so I was told after having 2dwis the DA explained to my lawyer I had to go to prison for 2years so what’s this Guy any differnt?if he was in jail where he was suppose to have been he would have killed this husband father and friend

  • guesty

    I hope he has to serve the maximum sentence while getting beaten on a regular basis.

  • Guest1851658

    I somewhat understand Ms. Colville’s concern, but all the move over laws on the books will not keep things like this from happening when a driver is stone drunk.

  • Guest2020

    The legislators in Raleigh need to give us tougher laws for DWI. It is ridiculous that this man was still on the road.

  • Guest4396

    We have the laws, we just have a legal system that turns drunk drivers loose for the sole purpose of re-arresting them for more fines, court costs, lawyer fees, rehab fees, driving school fees, etc. Inmates cost the system, repeat offenders pay the system. Who cares who gets killed in the process?

  • I Care Why

    8 DWI’s already? He never should have got past 3 or 2 even.

  • Yram Reinapert

    Prayers sent out to BOTH familys…. theres no winners in a case like this.

  • Guest-o-matic

    We now have a Habitual Drunk Driver off the road for quite a few years, which will lend more safety to the general public on our highways. He should’ve been put away after the first two!

    I propose new DWI penalties:
    1st offense – One year in jail, suspension of licencs for three additional years.
    2nd offense – Loss of right foot. 2 years in prison. License permanently revoked.
    3rd offense – Loss of left foot. 5 years in prison.
    4th offense – Loss of both hands. Lifetime intensive probation. 10 years in prison if caught under the influence at any time.

    Nobody would EVER get to eight DWI’s!

  • fleebailey

    How would he get his 5th with no hands.

  • 9743

    I totally agree that at least 6 months should be spent in jail for the 1st offense but chopping off hands and/or feet is a bit much for me….after 6 months or a year in jail for the 1st offense I think most would get the idea that the state of North Carolina is serious about DWI’s but as it stands right now the laws are nothing more than a joke!!

  • No DUI

    Through a straw?

  • unknown

    Sorry for everyone’s loss. One year earlier the DA only gave Mr. Thompson 30 days on weekends. One weekend he showed up and they sent hom home cause he was messed up. Red flag. The DA knew Thompsons record then. If he would have done something harsher then Mr Colville may still be here. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Thompson was wrong. Laws need to be changed. DAs need to step up and do a better job. And as for the employer of Thompson he knew his driving record too. There is a lot of people that need to step up and take responsibility in this case. A wife lost her husband, kids lost a father, friend lost a friend.


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