Man sentenced for traffic crash that killed St. Louis football coach; victim’s family says it isn’t enough
ST. LOUIS – The family of a St. Louis athlete and coach, 24-year-old Derrick Mitchell, who was killed by a hit and run driver in 2019, confronted that man in court on Thursday. They had something they want him to see.
“I wanted him to see his face,” said Marie Mitchell, Derrick’s mom.
His brother and sister held up a keepsake blanket with Derrick’s image emblazoned on it, inside the courtroom as Derrick’s parents spoke directly to the defendant, 37-year-old Coy Robinson.
Robinson had just pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, armed criminal action, and leaving the scene, for the October 2019 crash that killed Mitchell.
“Derrick was an amazing, amazing, you man. I wanted him to see my son’s face; what he took from us. I needed him to see that,” Marie Mitchell said.
Her son was a Vashon High School graduate and athlete who played college football at Iowa, then came home to raise his now 4-year-old son, Derrick Mitchell III (the family calls him “D3”) and to be an assistant football coach at Miller Career Academy High School.
“A lot of these young men said he was a father figure,” said Mitchell’s aunt, Geralding Fleming. “He was like a big brother. He didn’t only deal with them on the football field.”
He was heading to work the morning of the crash.
Robinson admits to swerving into oncoming traffic to pass Mitchell on North Broadway near Christian in St. Louis’s Baden neighborhood; hitting Mitchell’s vehicle in the process and knocking it into oncoming traffic where Mitchell was hit by another car. Robinson’s data recorder shows he was going close to 70 mph. The speed limit is 35 mph.
Mitchell suffered a ruptured aorta. His father told Robinson he fought bravely at a hospital, suffering 8 strokes before dying days after the crash.
Court records show Robinson pleaded guilty in 2017 to weapons, resisting arrest, and assault on law enforcement charges stemming from another incident. He was sentenced to 10 years but Judge Elizabeth Hogan suspended the sentence and gave Robinson 3 years probation, which he was serving at the time of the crash.
He was sentenced to 8 years for his guilty pleas Thursday.
Mitchell’s family is upset that Judge David Mason ordered the 8 years to be served at the same time as the 10 years from the earlier case.
With early release, Robinson could be free in less than 4 years, his attorney said.
“For my son’s life, it’s just not enough, just not enough,” Marie Mitchell said.
“Our lives are irretrievably broken,” Mitchell’s father told Robinson through tears.
When Robinson told the judge he was sorry for his actions, the judge told him to look at Mitchell’s family and tell them, which he did.
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