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Fatal hit-run driver sentenced to 5 years

A Fayette County judge imposed the maximum sentence Friday on a man who was convicted of fleeing the scene of a crash that killed a University of Kentucky freshman last spring.

Shannon Houser, 37, was sentenced to five years in prison for tampering with evidence and leaving the scene of an accident. A jury had recommended six years by asking for the tampering and fleeing sentences to run consecutively, but by law the toughest sentence that Circuit Judge James Ishmael could impose was five years.

Early on April 13, Houser struck Connie Blount, 18, with his pickup. Blount, who investigators have said crossed Broadway against the light, had knelt down in the street, according to testimony.

Blount's father, Jack, was disappointed that Houser was not prosecuted for murder. He said he's angry that Houser will be eligible for parole after serving a year.

"Our legal system is a mess," Jack Blount said.

Police have said that Houser removed the grille and bumper of his truck. But his attorney argued that Houser was not trying to conceal anything, noting that he did not wash the truck or try to hide the bumper.

Houser has said that he had not realized that he had hit Blount, who was studying equestrian science at UK.

But Ishmael told Houser on Friday that his explanation defies common sense.

Jack Blount said he will appear before the parole board when Houser is eligible.

"To me, he appears to have accepted no responsibility for what he did," Jack Blount said. "He just shows no remorse. It is just shocking."