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Milford Daily News
By Michelle Laczkoski/Daily News staff
Posted May 21, 2009 @ 01:21 AM
An Uxbridge man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail yesterday after pleading guilty to motor vehicle homicide.
Michael Murch, 32, was charged in connection to a June 2008 crash that killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Colby Hillier.
Murch, of 55 Mendon Road, admitted to drinking at Mario’s Showplace in Webster before crashing his 2004 Subaru Impreza into a tree on June 10.
Police said Murch was driving west on Gilboa Street in Douglas around 1 a.m. when he lost control of his car, swerved and crashed.
Hillier, also of 55 Mendon Road, Uxbridge, formerly of Westborough, was found in the backseat of the car and appeared to be breathing, prosecutor Paula Frasso said.
Hillier, a 2004 Westborough High School graduate, died after spending a week in critical condition at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
Murch was treated at the hospital for minor injuries. His blood alcohol level was .058, below the legal limit of 0.08. He tested positive for chemicals found in prescription drugs Zoloft and Vicodin. The combination impaired his judgment, Frasso said.
At yesterday’s sentencing, Hillier’s mother, Colleen Simmons, said she misses her daughter’s “loving heart and beautiful smile.”
“When Colby died, I felt like I died with her,” Simmons said as tears streamed down her face. “It was the most helpless feeling I’ve ever had.”
Craig Hillier, Colby’s father, said, “Life will never be the same.”
“I feel sorry for her brothers and sister who have to spend their life without her,” he said.
Murch hung his head as Hillier’s mother reprimanded him.
“You had no remorse, no regard for her life. You’re a coward,” Simmons said. “The last time I saw (Colby), she told me she was done with you. I’m glad she saw your true side before she died.”
Colby Hillier’s grandmother Joan Brady told Murch he “will be judged again.”
“I hope her beautiful face haunts you for the rest of your life,” Brady said.
Through his lawyer, Michael Hussey, Murch said there was “nothing (he) could say to make things right.”
“He said, ‘Talk is cheap at this time,”‘ Hussey said. “My impression is he feels sadness and remorse and has accepted responsibility.”
Before handing down his sentence, Judge James Lemire told Hillier’s family their words were “very moving.”
“You had a beautiful daughter,” he said.
Lemire sentenced Murch to 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction, with 18 months to serve. The balance will be suspended for five years while Murch serves a probation term.
Murch, who was arrested shortly after the accident, has already served 344 days of his sentence.
Upon his release, Murch will be on probation and cannot drink alcohol or use drugs, must submit to random screenings, enter an offender’s program, cannot contact Hillier’s family and cannot drive for five years.
Hussey and prosecutors agreed to the sentencing.
“It punishes (Murch) by sending him to prison where he’s been since the incident, it sends a lesson to others and it offers him rehabilitation,” he said.
Michelle Laczkoski can be reached at email@example.com or 508-634-7556.