, Muskogee, OK

November 13, 2012

No jail time for teen in fatality

Alred apologizes to Dum family members

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Family members of John Luke Dum listened as a tearful Tyler Alred apologized for the crash that killed Dum.

Alred, 17, was given a 10-year deferred sentence Tuesday, the maximum District Judge Mike Norman was allowed to give, Norman said.

“I didn’t know John,” Norman said. “But he must have been a great fella.”

Alred was charged as a youthful offender with manslaughter for a Dec. 3 crash that killed Dum, 16. Dum was killed when he was ejected from a pickup Alred was driving. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol report stated Alred told OHP troopers he had consumed alcohol prior to the crash.

Before being sentenced, Alred addressed the Dum family for the first time since the crash.

“I know my words cannot bring him back,” Alred said. “I did not want to do what I did. I want to change my life. I have changed my life.”

Alred, teared up and began openly crying.

“This is terrible,” he said. “This is awful.”

Jim Dum, John’s father, stood up from his front row seat and embraced Alred. Both were sobbing.

“I’m sorry,” Alred said. “I’m so sorry.”

Documents state Alred took two breathalyzer tests the night of the crash. He had a blood-alcohol content of 0.06 and the second showed him having a content of 0.07.

Norman read off a list of conditions Alred must comply with, or face time in prison.

• Graduate high school;

• Graduate from welding school;

• Take drug and alcohol assessment and submit to drug, alcohol and nicotine tests for a year;

• Wear a drug and alcohol bracelet;

• Take part in victim’s impact panels; and

• Attend church for 10 years.

Alred pleaded guilty in August.

Before the sentencing was read, four victim impact statements from members of the Dum family were read. All expressed various degrees of anger at Dum’s loss, and the desire to see Alred learn from the crash.

Alred’s attorney, Donn Baker, echoed something Dum’s sister, Caitlin, said in her victim’s statement. Caitlin said: “We don’t need to see two lives wasted for a mistake.”

Baker told Norman Alred’s life was hanging in the balance.

“The issue you have, judge, is whether we’re going to destroy two lives,” Baker said. “One we can’t do anything about. The other, like they said, you’re the judge, so it’s up to you.

“I usually represent outlaws, and criminals. This is a kid that made a mistake. Judge, I think he’s worth saving.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth