BLOOMSBURG — A man from Columbia County could spend close to three years behind bars for a hit and run that killed a man near Berwick.
During Friday’s sentencing, the victim’s brother asked the judge to show mercy to the young driver.
Terry Mohr says at first he hated the young driver who drove drunk last September, hit Mohr’s brother and left him to die on the side of a road near Berwick. But Mohr says now he accepts the apology from Joseph Rish and wants to see him learn from his mistakes outside of jail.
A judge in Columbia County ordered Joseph Rish, 20, to spend between 16 and 32 months in jail for the hit-and-run death of Robert Mohr.
Rish could have received as much as 15 years behind bars.
Earlier this year, Rish pleaded guilty to a long list of charges, including homicide by vehicle and DUI. Police say Rish was drunk in September 2012 when he hit Mohr who was riding his bicycle home from work near Berwick.
“When it first happened I wanted to see the boy do all kinds of time. Over the year, it healed some. Not much, but it healed some. I know he’s got to do time, he ought to do time but he’s got a mother and a family, too,” said the victim’s brother Terry Mohr.
During Rish’s sentencing at the courthouse in Bloomsburg, Mohr asked the judge for mercy. Mohr says he was once in trouble himself and wants to see Rish learn from his mistakes.
“I learned from my mistakes, that’s why I quit drinking. I’ve got almost 20 years without it. I hope he can go that long once he gets out and gets straightened out.”
Joseph Rish’s family did not wish to speak on camera, but they tell Newswatch 16 they are thankful for the sympathy Mohr showed in court. They say they did not dream he would say that.
“I told her to stand behind him and take care of him. If he needs help with his alcohol, get it,” Mohr said.
During his sentencing, Rish said, “I apologize to the Mohr family and to my family. I will use this to better myself. I’m not a bad person; I just made a bad decision.”
“I accepted his apology. I just hope he learns from it,” said Mohr.
Because of time already served, Joseph Rish could be out of jail in about four more months.