HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WJBK) - A 50-year-old man was arraigned Friday on one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing death.
Joseph Dunning turned himself in Tuesday and confessed to hitting 54-year-old Cordie Howlett last week near John R. and Woodward Heights -- an accident that took Howlett's life -- and leaving the scene.
"That was a person that you ran over that is worthy of being more than a speed bump," said Tracy Stocker, sister of the victim.
The family of 54-year-old Cordie Howlett describes him as a fun-loving, free spirit -- an inspiration to all he encountered.
"My brother ... The instant he hit that sidewalk, his spirit was gone," Stocker said.
Outside of court Friday, Howlett's family forgave the man responsible for their loved one's death.
"Our prayers are with the family. We've asked everybody to pray for that family and that man," Stocker said.
Defense attorney Jason Malkiewicz says Dunning feels absolutely horrible.
"He hasn't been able to eat or sleep basically since this incident," he said.
"I think this is a case where a good person made a bad decision," Chief Martin Barner of Hazel Park police.
Hazel Park police say while Dunning has no criminal record but they do believe alcohol played a role in the accident.
Dunning's bond was set at $150,000 dollars Friday, likely because he hid his car after the accident and fixed the damage.
"He did not turn himself in until the pressure was being applied -- until he knew that our next step was going to be his house," Barner said.
But despite all of that, Howlett's family says as difficult as it may be, they're doing what Howlett would do.
"He is forgiven. It's just who he is. He's human too. He's made mistakes. ... Our family -- we're past this," Stocker said.
Dunning is due back in court Oct. 25 for his probable cause hearing, but Dunning's attorney says he hopes this can be resolved without a trial.