Hit and run victim did time for manslaughter by vehicle - WNEM TV 5

Hit and run victim did time for manslaughter by vehicle

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ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WNEM) -

We're learning more about the  Carrollton man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver Sunday while riding his bicycle on Mapleridge Road.

The victim was 57-year-old Ernest William Davenport.

Davenport left behind a son, according to a man who identifies himself as the child's teacher.

Eighteen years ago on Christmas Eve morning at 9 a.m., Davenport crossed the center lane on Highway 52 in St. Charles. His pickup hit a Pontiac driven by 45-year-old William Keit of Saginaw Township. Keit died from his injuries.

Davenport, whose blood alcohol was three times the legal limit, would plead guilty to manslaughter and serve 12 years in prison. He was released on parole in 2012. He was removed from parole in 2014.

Since his release, Davenport had been living on Mapleridge Road in Carrollton. Neighbors said he kept to himself and worked in his garden. Friends called him a kind, gentle and intelligent man.  

The men working behind the counter at two liquor stores in the area, however, painted a different picture of Davenport.  

"He used to come in with his nose all messed up and with cuts on his face like he was in a fight. And he'd buy vodka," said one store employee.

Both stores were given fliers some months ago with Davenport's photo on them. They warned against selling him alcohol.  

"I had chills so bad up my spine. And I just started crying right away," said Karen Keit, who was forced to raise her two daughters alone after the crash.  

"You have to deal with the grief. You have to deal with the financial situation. I mean your whole world is completely upside down," she said.

Keit's daughters were 11 and 14 when their father was killed. Keit said she worked two jobs and relied on her faith.

Some might expect a woman who'd lost so much to feel at least some sense of satisfaction that the man who had ruined her life was killed like he was, but Keit said she doesn't.  

"I feel sympathy for his family," she said.  "As a Christian, I know I'm supposed to forgive. I knew I couldn't move forward unless I forgave him."

Davenport was a three-time drunk driving offender when his truck slammed into William Keit's car. The courts finally took away his license forever after his guilty plea.  

That's why he was riding a bike Sunday evening.

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