Former Boston Celtics Player Found Guilty in Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash
BOSTON (AP) _ A former Boston Celtics basketball player was convicted of vehicular homicide Thursday in a hit-and-run auto crash that killed two university students. He was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.
Charles Smith was cleared on the more serious charge of manslaughter as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. But he was also found guilty of leaving the scene of a crime. His lawyer said he would appeal.
Boston University students Michelle Dartley, 20, of Ridgewood, N.J., and An Trinh, 21, of Placentia, Calif, were killed in the crash last March 22.
Smith, 24, told the court he was sorry for the deaths and had spoken to the victims’ families.
″I’m not going to forget this for the rest of my life. Every day I just think and think of this,″ he said.
Smith’s lawyer, Dennis Kelly, told the jury the accident was a tragedy, but accused prosecution witnesses of exaggerating or fabricating evidence against Smith.
A taxicab driver followed Smith’s van after the crash, leading police to him by calling in his whereabouts by radio. Smith was arrested about a mile from the accident.
Smith’s college roommate, Benjamin Gillery, was riding in Smith’s van when the accident occurred. He testified that Smith paused briefly after the crash, then sped away.
Smith was a standout player for Georgetown University and a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic team before joining the Celtics. Georgetown coach John Thompson and Boston Celtics executive Dave Gavitt testified as character witnesses.
He was a guard for the Celtics during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons. He was playing under a 10-day contract at the time of the crash, and the Celtics didn’t resign him when that contract expired. Since then, he has played for the Albany, Ga., Sharp Shooters of the Global Basketball League.