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Greis sentenced to 20 years in prison for crash that killed five family members

Posted: 2:13 PM, Aug 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-27 18:20:37Z
Driver sentenced for crash that killed five
Driver sentenced for crash that killed five

COVINGTON, Ky. -- A Kenton County judge sentenced Daniel Greis to 20 years in prison Monday.

Greis, 58, crashed head-on into the Pollitt family's car on Staffordsburg Road last October. Rodney Pollitt Jr., 26; Samantha Malohn, 27; and their three children, Hailieann, Brendan and Callie Pollitt were killed.

In June, a Kenton County jury found Greis guilty on five counts of murder and recommended a sentence of 20 years for each count, to be served concurrently. The judge followed the jury's recommendation. 

Greis will be eligible for parole in 17 years.

During the trial, Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said in his closing arguments that Greis showed an indifference to human life when he crossed the double yellow line while speeding at 86 mph in a 55 mph zone.

 

"There was just no excuse for his conduct," he said. "We believed it was murder from the time we got the test results back and the black box download."

Greis had a double bourbon while playing golf before the crash and admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day to help with back pain. 

Defense attorney Stacey Graus said Greis wasn't actually impaired or drunk at the time of the crash. He continued their strategy of spreading the blame around, pointing jurors to a road rage incident which preceded the crash. Greis had testified he was trying to pass another driver, Jesse Phillips.

"Dan Greis is in no man's land, and Jesse Phillips put him there," Graus said.

Sanders questioned why someone would drive that fast on a curvy country road and try to pass someone while approaching a blind spot. He compared it to Russian roulette.

"He put a gun to the head of the Pollitt family, and that is a picture of extreme human indifference," Sanders said.

He said Rodney Pollitt "lived every father's worst nightmare" in the moments before the collision.

"In the last two seconds before the crash, he knew his family was going to die, but he could not do anything about it," Sanders said. "I've tried dozens, if not hundreds of cases, and I've never cried during a trial before."

Greis faced a minimum sentence of 20 years and as much as life in prison.