Miguel Cerda

Miguel Cerda (Booking photo)

Man Sentenced In Hit-And-Run Death Of Teen Riding Bike In Wixom

December 20, 2018 - 3:36 pm

PONTIAC (WWJ/AP) - A young man who authorities say was living in the U.S. illegally has been sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a suburban Detroit teen

Miguel Cerda of Commerce Township learned his punishment in Oakland County Circuit Court Thursday, after earlier pleading guilty to reckless driving in the June death of 14-year old Justin Lee.

Witnesses said Cerda was speeding in a minivan, trying to pass another vehicle, when he struck Lee as he rode a bicycle along Potter Rd., between Wixom and Beck roads in Wixom on June 11.

Lee, who was a student at Walled Lake Western High School, died at a local hospital. 

Justin Lee
Cerda continued driving after the collision, but not before witnesses were able to get his license plate number. The 21-year-old was on the run for  nearly 24 hours before police received a tip that led to his arrest in Lansing. 

Officials have said that after the crash Cerda planned to flee back to Mexico, where he has family, before he was caught.  

Addressing the court at sentencing, the young victim's mother, Patricia Lee, said she'd wanted Cerda to spend more time behind bars.

"Miguel's not even a U.S. citizen -- he was not even supposed to be here -- and he broke a lot of laws on that day," Patricia Lee said. "He didn't have a driver's license, he was driving an unlicensed vehicle and he was exceeding he speed limit by more than double...and was very reckless."

The grieving mom, who described her son as "a beautiful, handsome, funny, loving, friendly, affectionate person," said some day she will forgive Cerda. 

"It's a tragedy for you as well," she added, through tears. "You made bad choices, bad decisions. You're at the prime of your life right now and you'll have to live with the memory of my son slamming into your car and rolling over your car."

Given his chance to speak, Cerda expressed his remorse in a statement made in Spanish.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.