MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon man is headed to prison for hitting and killing a child with his SUV last summer and then driving away.
Dakota Welch was sentenced Wednesday to seven years, four months behind bars for driving with a suspended license causing death and four years for failing to stop at a crash causing serious injury or death. Those sentences will run concurrently. Welch received credit for 262 days served.
The charges stem from the June 10, 2018, crash in Muskegon Heights that killed 6-year-old Taylor Davis.
“The fact that you kept going and never stopped, like she was a wild animal in the street, don’t sit well with us. But we are a God-fearing family, so no matter how much time you get, God will have the last say-so,” the girl’s father Donald Davis, crying, told Welch during the sentencing hearing. “Your family will still be able to visit you in prison, whereas our family will only be able to visit and see our baby at a gravesite.”
When given the chance to speak, Welch said he was sorry Taylor had died and also apologized for his behavior during his arraignment in June.
During the arraignment, Welch admitted he hit a bike, but said there was no proof he hit Taylor, saying there was no blood on his SUV.
In October, Welch pleaded no contest under the terms of a plea agreement. The deal included a sentence of less than six years, but a judge withdrew the sentencing agreement after learning of Welch’s bad driving history.
State records show Welch had been caught driving without a license eight times since 2016. Because of the violations, his driver’s license, which was never issued, was suspended at the time of the crash.