Twist of Fate: organization Rockford man helped to start solves - – Rockford’s News Leader

Twist of Fate: organization Rockford man helped to start solves his son's death

Jill and Charles Jackson Jill and Charles Jackson
Justin Martin Justin Martin
ROCKFORD (WREX) - An organization that a Rockford man helped to start in the area ends up catching the man who ran over his son. Justin Martin pleaded guilty in court Friday to leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. On October 2, 2013 Todd Jackson was hit while crossing a Rockford street.

"The court accepts your plea of guilty," says Judge Patrick Heaslip.

With the stroke of the pen, Martin signs off on a plea deal that says he was responsible for leaving an accident that killed Jackson. Jackson was crossing the road near Charles and 28th Streets when he was hit by a small red pick-up that took off.

"The hardest part of this is hearing what happened that night. No parent wants to think about their child, hurt, alone and not be able to comfort them and that's the worst of it," says Jill Jackson, mother.

The next day someone called in a tip to crime stoppers saying they think they spotted the truck. When police arrived, Martin confessed.

"It's so ironic that the Crime Stopper tip is what caught him when Chuck got all the Crime Stopper programs in the Midwest started," says Jill Jackson.

"I couldn't be more pleased that that was the way the case was resolved. It was just poetic justice," says Charles Jackson, father.

Though Martin pleaded guilty, in the deal he left the sentence up to the Judge to decide. He faces between four and 15 years. But for Jackson's family, just seeing Martin admit his guilt was a big step for them moving forward from their son's death.

"You know what I would like from him more than anything else is to look at us and say I'm sorry and really mean it. That would help in the forgiving process, we are never going to forget," says Charles Jackson.

"I do feel a sense of closure which we have been looking for for the last eight months to get some justice for our son," says Jill Jackson.

Jackson worked for the Winnebago County Circuit Clerk's office. His family and co-workers will dedicate a bench in his memory this summer. Martin will be sentenced July 18th.

To stay updated on news you can follow @RebeccaKlopf on twitter.

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