Reidsville man accepts plea in hit-and-run death of High Point firefighter

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A guilty plea for the hit-and-run crash that killed High Point Fire Equipment Operator and firefighter Todd Martinez could not keep Andrew Barham out of prison.

On Thursday, Judge Joseph Craig ordered Barham to serve four months behind bars followed by 48 months of probation.

The truck versus bicycle crash happened on Scalesville Road in Summerfield, not far from Martinez’s home in February. Martinez was riding bikes with his wife when he was hit.

Barham, 20, of Reidsville, told investigators he never saw Martinez but broke down and cried when he learned that Martinez had died.

“I should never have run,” Barham told the victim’s widow Thursday. “I’m terribly sorry.”

The judge agreed with Barham about leaving the scene. He also considered the fact that Barham went to a church function and Super Bowl party before being convinced he should talk to authorities about the crash.

“Up until that point you were still trying to hide that's what I'm punishing you for,” said Judge Joseph Craig.

Martinez is survived by his wife and two boys, ages 12 and 14.

Martinez’ wife Melanie Harless believes the judge should have been able to consider a harsher sentence.

“The laws definitely need to be changed and I'm going to be working toward making some changes so that no family suffered the way my family has,” said Harless.

Barham could have served close to five years in prison at the maximum based on sentencing guidelines for the felony hit-and-run charge. Even if he breaks his probation, the judge decided the most Barham will serve for the crime is 29 months.

Harless said it’s not enough considering the pain her she and other are going through.

“I carry the weight of sadness loneliness heartache and despair everywhere I go, especially knowing that this is something that could have been prevented,” said Harless.

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