Groom sentenced for fatal wedding crash
Ryan Quinton with attorney Scott Poole in Cherokee Court Tuesday. (Pickens County Progress photo)
Written by Angela Reinhardt
Pickens County Progress
know I’ve done wrong. I’m truly sorry to the family. I take full
responsibility for my actions, but I need help. I am asking for another
chance,” says Ryan Quinton.
The groom who was charged in a wreck that killed his wife on their
wedding day has been sentenced in Cherokee County Superior Court.
On Tuesday, March 3, Ryan Quinton, 29, Jasper, entered a guilty
plea to one count of Vehicular Homicide based on Reckless Driving and to
a separate DUI charge brought against him in Pickens County for a
separate incident five months after the fatal wreck.
The accident occurred in Ball Ground on December 29, 2013 on
Highway 5 and claimed the life of Kali Shay Quinton as they were leaving
their wedding reception. This tragic incident garnered national
After hearing argument and testimony, which included a tearful
statement from Kali’s 13-year-old niece and Quinton’s mother and
brother, Cherokee County Superior Court Judge David Cannon sentenced
Quinton to 15 years of probation for the Vehicular Homicide count.
Additionally, Quinton will be required to serve 90 to 120 days in a
probation detention center. Once that is complete he will return to the
Cherokee County jail for two to three months before transitioning back
he is released from custody, Quinton must complete the Cherokee County
DUI court program. He will be required to wear an alcohol-sensing
device for 180 days and will not be allowed to drive for a period of
five years. He was also sentenced to 2,000 hours of community service
and thousands of dollars in fines.
the hearing, both the defense attorney and DA Shannon Wallace made
comments about how unusual the case had been because of the ongoing
support of Kali’s family towards Ryan.
“The family doesn’t want him
prosecuted at all,” DA Wallace said.
mother, father and two sisters did not appear in court.
“Coming in and
seeing the process was more than they could bear,” said defense attorney
lieu of attending the hearing, Kali’s family submitted victim impact
statements expressing their desired outcome for the case, for Quinton to
serve no further jail time.
testimony from Kali’s niece, who spoke in support of Ryan, she said he
had become a positive influence in her life.
“Ryan was a huge part of
my family,” she said. “I saw how much he loved her.”
In her testimony, Quinton’s mother, Diane Quinton, recalled seeing her son at the hospital after the accident.
first words out of his mouth were, ‘Momma, as God as my witness I want
to be with Kali, I don’t want to live anymore.’ He was devastated,” she
said in tears. “She was his soul mate and he lost her, and he was
blaming himself for it.”
Quinton, who appeared somber in court and was brought to tears during much of the testimony, made a brief statement.
“I know I’ve done wrong,” he said. “I’m truly sorry to the family. I
take full responsibility for my actions, but I need help. I am asking
for another chance.”
in the case was not negotiated. Quinton’s sentence was completely in
the discretion of the court.
The district attorney’s Office requested a
sentence of 15 years total, with seven years in prison. Defense
attorneys Scott Poole and Ross Grisham requested a sentence of 15 years
of probation and asked the court to require him to complete Cherokee
County DUI court, a 24-month program of intense rehabilitation.
statement released by Grisham & Poole, PC the defense attorneys
said, “We went into this hearing knowing there was nothing the court
could do to Ryan that would be worse than losing his wife. While Ryan
would have preferred to go home tonight, he takes full responsibility
for his actions and understands the court’s decision. Ryan appreciates
all the support he has received throughout this tragedy. He looks
forward to returning to both his and Kali’s family’s and to beginning
his journey towards sobriety.
hearts go out specifically to Kali’s family,” it continues. “This case
has been unusual in that we have worked with them and gotten to know
them because of their support for Ryan. We hope that both families can
put this behind them and look forward to a brighter future. “