Family of woman killed in DUI crash asks that driver gets ‘second chance’
On Dec. 14, 2017, Heidi Hamilton was killed in a car crash that was caused by an inebriated driver.
"That was the worst day of our lives," her sister Heather Tackett said, recalling the event in the Floyd County Justice Center.
Tackett and other family members joined together in the courtroom Thursday as Kimberly Akers, the driver responsible for Hamilton's death, entered a guilty plea.
"It robs families. And it's just not fair," Tackett said.
Tackett said the crash robbed her family of someone who had so much to offer.
"Everybody loved when Heidi came around," Tackett said. "Because she was the one that brought the laughter, and the fun, and the smiles, and the hugs."
In that same spirit, the family brought a piece of Hamilton with them to the courtroom by asking the judge to give her killer a "second chance."
"Well, Heidi always believed in not judging others and giving people second chances," Tackett said.
That is why the family asked that, as part of her plea agreement, the judge allowed Akers to enter a treatment facility instead of continuing incarceration as she awaits sentencing.
And after discussing the decision with Tackett, the judge did just that.
“We hope she's able to make a change for herself and for her family,” said Tackett.
She says it won’t bring her sister back, but it is the only way to get justice in a way she would have wanted.
Tackett is now active in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving campaign and is hosting a candlelight vigil next month to remember people like her sister who are victims of inebriated drivers.
“We just hope that others think long and hard before they make the decision to get behind the wheel impaired,” Tackett said.
Akers will return to circuit court for sentencing in February.