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Doctor sentenced in crash that killed runner Meg Menzies

Posted at 11:20 AM, Feb 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-06 20:52:06-05

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Dr. Michael Carlson, the man who hit and killed runner Meg Menzies and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a Hanover courtroom Friday afternoon. However, the judge suspended six years of the sentence. That means Carlson will spend four years in prison.

Carlson faced a maximum of 10 years in prison. Carlson, who was released on bond pending in December, has been monitored and continued to wear a bracelet to ensure he does not drink alcohol. Officials said Carlson has been compliant with court orders since he was arrested.

During the December hearing, Hanover prosecutor Stephen Royalty said Carlson "gave himself an overdose of alcohol and that ended Meg's life."

Michael Carlson and Meg Menzies

Michael Carlson and Meg Menzies

Carlson had previously admitted to drinking the night before he hit and killed Menzies, a mother of three, while she ran one morning in January with her husband.

Carlson spoke for the very first time telling the judge and Meg Menzies' family how he was deeply sorry for his actions.

"I think about them every day. I pray for them everyday. I pray that they'll find peace and happiness. I accept full responsibility. I am sorry." said Carlson.

Johnny Robinson, Carlson's patient and close friend, says he had lunch with him this week.

But didn't expect such a harsh sentence.

"He was a dear friend, the most wonderful man you could ever know in your life. And to have a mistake like that destroy so many lives is a true tragedy," said Robinson.

Scott Menzies, an Ashland police officer, previously testified he saw Carlson's car lose control and hit Meg as she tried to get out of the way.

"I miss her more than life itself. I can't express to you how much pain I've experienced. I've never experienced so much pain," said Menzie. "My children are devastated. And they will be devastated for a long time."

Pamela Cross couldn't fight back the tears as she reminisced about her daughter.

"Some days it hurts so bad, I can't breathe. I have nightmares," said Cross. "What really hurts and makes me angry is that, I couldn't help her."

Menzies' death touched many people, not only in the Richmond-area, but around the world. In the days after her death, more than 90,000 people pledged their runs during the Meg’s Miles event. Thousands of people wrote hear-felt dedications to Meg on the Meg’s Miles Facebook page.

During April's Boston Marathon, a Boston mother touched by Menzies’ story created a memorial to the Hanover mother. Using social media, Kel Kelly put out the call for runners to send her their old shoes to create a memorial dubbed "Soles of Love."

"It’s breathtakingly beautiful," Kelly said about the 1,400-shoe memorial that sat near the Boston Marathon start line in Hopkinton, Mass. "The energy that radiates off this structure pulls people in."