As William Cross was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for the vehicular homicide of Carver Coach David Pollard, a tragic irony hung over the courtroom.
It was the William Crosses of the world — troubled kids — that Pollard spent his coach and teaching career trying to reach.
“That’s what we have found so weird about this whole story,” said Pollard’s father, Terry Render. “David would have spent his time helping Mr. Cross become a better person, even though Mr. Cross took his life.”
In April 2016, William Cross stole a car, eluded police and ended up running a red light at the intersection of Buena Vista and Andrews Roads.
Cross’ stolen Audi T-boned Pollard’s silver sedan. The coach died on the scene of blunt-force trauma.
Pollard left school that day to pick up field chalk for a game he never made it to.
Under the plea deal, Superior Court Judge Art Smith sentenced Cross to 25 years in prison. The prosecution agreed to drop the felony murder charge in exchange for Cross pleading to vehicular homicide, fleeing from police and theft of a motor vehicle.
Cross was remorseful and apologized to the Pollard family. Even the judge fought back emotion as he handed down justice.
Pollard’s parents, wife, siblings, and friends told the court of how Cross had snuffed out one of this community’s brightest lights. They told of the hole it had ripped in their family and how much his 12-year-old daughter misses him.
Pollard taught at Carver and Jordan before that. He had a reputation of working with at-risk teenagers and steering them away from trouble. He coached baseball, but he also coached life.
“Most of my thoughts today were on my son,” Render said. “What a tremendous loss for the community and my family has been through the last three years. My thoughts are also with Mr. Cross. A 19-year-old kid who decided to steal a car and made bad decisions and now has to pay for it the rest of his life.”
Pollard’s best friend, Carver girls basketball coach Anson Hundley was asked how many kids Pollard had helped. He told the court it was easily over a thousand.
Cross, now 22, was 19 when he made a series of bad decisions that led to Pollard’s death. He had dropped out of Carver when he was a sophomore.
On a day where there were many regrets, Hundley wished that Pollard had a shot to turn Cross’ life around.
“And he probably would have reached him if he had had a chance,” Hundley said. “That’s who he was trying to help out, the William Crosses of the world. He just didn’t get a chance to cross paths with him, except for in the wrong way.”