Man pleads guilty in Haywood County wagon train deaths, receives unusual sentence

Michael McCoy, 37, pleaded guilty in the wagon train crash that killed Jason Messer and Boney Summey last September in Haywood County. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The man charged in a fatal wagon train crash last September in Haywood County got an unusual sentence.

Michael McCoy, 37, pleaded guilty in the crash that killed Jason Messer and Boney Summey.

Troopers said McCoy's pickup hit the wagon train on Highway 276 in the Jonathan Creek area.

Thursday afternoon, McCoy received a 60-day suspended sentence and will spend a day in jail for the next three years on the anniversaries of his victims’ deaths.

Messer died at the scene. Summey suffered brain injuries and died two months after the crash.

Summey's daughter said this is just one step in the healing process.

“I'm glad he pled guilty and that he owned up to what he did. Of course, we'd always want sentencing worse. But what he got is suitable enough. He'll have to remember on those days of the anniversary of Jason and Daddy. When he goes to jail, he'll have to remember those days,” Tracie Lunsford said.

Lunsford said faith holds her family together. In court she said, “Mr. McCoy, we forgive you.”

Prosecutors said McCoy was not on his cell phone at the time of the crash. But they said in his own statements he indicated it was raining at the time of the crash and his phone distracted him.

McCoy will also have to pay restitution costs for some medical bills and serve 50 hours of community service.

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