Father of 14's family angry after drunk driver sentenced to 13 years

NajeeĀ Hillsman pleads guilty in DUI crash that killed Alvin Nelson

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor, Frank Powers - Assignment manager

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man charged in a drunk driving crash that killed a father of 14 will spend 13 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to DUI manslaughter in the case.

Najee Rasheem Hillsman agreed to that sentence, followed by two years of probation, as part of a plea deal reached with the State Attorney's Office, according to a copy of the agreement filed Feb. 28.

Hillsman, 24, also agreed to a five-year sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to a second charge of DUI causing serious bodily injury. The deal calls for him to serve both sentences at the same time.

The family of the man killed in the crash is not happy with the outcome.

Alvin Nelson's mother, Carolyn Nelson, was in court Wednesday when Hillsman accepted the plea agreement.

“I want more time,” Carolyn Nelson said. “The same length of time he took away from me for my child I believe he needs to get the same thing.”

Alvin Nelson's parents have both fought cancer and said they thought he would bury them first, but instead they buried their son and now want justice for him.

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One of Nelson's daughters told the court Wednesday that she doesn't sleep much anymore. 

“When I found out, it was like the craziest thing ever,” Imonni Nelson said. “I can't call my daddy no more. I graduate next year, and he won't be there.”

The crash happened about 7 p.m. July 21 on Edgewood Avenue North near Old Kings Road, according to police.

Investigators suspect that Hillman was intoxicated when his vehicle crossed the median and struck Alvin Nelson's car head-on. Nelson, 38, was killed in the wreck.

Hillsman was taken to a hospital, where his blood was drawn. A police report stated that his blood alcohol content was 0.163, or over twice the legal limit.

Alvin Nelson's loved ones said they're worried Hillsman will serve his time and then kill someone else while driving drunk after he's released.

“I felt like they gave him a pat on the shoulder, and then he is going to come right back out here and kill someone else's child,” Carolyn Nelson said.

Nelson's family said the fight is not over. They will petition the state to increase the maximum prison time for DUI manslaughter. They want the sentence to be more than 15 years. 

“My plan is in three years, when the mandatory is up and one more to go, we are going to start writing letters (for changes in the law), because by then all of the kids will be older enough to write,” Alvin Nelson's mother-in-law, Minnie McDonald, said.

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