WATERBURY — Kevin Hayes said Friday he breaks into tears some days. His son, Kevin Morine, is gone, killed in an ATV crash last year in Prospect.
Holidays are painful. Hayes and his family have been robbed of the joy of seeing Morine have a career, get married and have children.
“It’s like a piece of me is missing and can never be replaced,” he said.
As Hayes recounted his son’s life and the impact he had on his friends and family, the man who was riding with Morine during the crash, 28-year-old William Laplante, stood with his hands clasped behind his back near a table in Waterbury Superior Court.
Laplante faced several charges in connection with the May 2010 accident on Straitsville Road in Prospect in which Morine was killed, but a judge sentenced him to two months in prison as part of a plea deal.
Family at the time of the accident said Morine, who was 21 when he died, and Laplante, of Waterbury, rode Laplante’s new racing ATV from a Prospect home to show it to a friend who lived nearby.
Neither was wearing a helmet at the time.
A state police report stated that the driver of the ATV lost control while rounding a curve in the road. The ATV hit a curb, and both men were ejected, it stated.
Emergency workers pronounced Morine dead at the scene, and Laplante was taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury with serious injuries, including a cracked skull.
Morine graduated from W.F. Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury in 2006 before serving a tool-making apprenticeship at Prospect Machine Products. His family remembered him as a great kid and a hard worker who loved the outdoors. Based on the initial police report, it was unclear who was driving the ATV when it crashed.
As part of the deal worked out by Laplante’s attorney, Ioannis Kaloidis, Laplante entered written pleas of no contest to reckless driving and illegal operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence. Those pleas mean he didn’t admit guilt to the crimes, but a conviction was entered on his record. The pleas also mean he can deny the charge during a civil trial.
Morine’s family, including his mother who held a framed picture of Morine, sat in two rows in the courtroom, wiping tears away with tissues as Hayes spoke about his son. Morine’s mother said during the sentencing that Laplante had never expressed any condolences or remorse to their family.
Morine asked Judge Richard Damiani to impose the longest sentence possible. But Damiani said the sentence didn’t reflect the value of Morine’s life.
Damiani told him a manslaughter charge against Laplante had been considered, but the facts in the case didn’t support that crime.
Laplante, a bulky man with a black goatee, initially declined to comment during the sentencing, and said little when he finally spoke.
“It was an accident,” Laplante said. “Sorry.”
When Damiani told Laplante he should consider apologizing to Morine’s family, he turned to them, casually said he was sorry, then turned away, which caused even more tears from Morine’s family.
Laplante also will have to serve a year and half of probation when he’s released from prison.