The Air Force sergeant who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the automobile accident that killed former Washington Redskins middle linebacker Harold McLinton was given a suspended 120-day jail term yesterday by a D.C. Superior Court judge.
Sgt. Larry Naylor also was sentenced by Judge Tim Murphy to one year of probation during which he must provide 250 hours of community service. Naylor could have received a maximum six-month jail term. He pleaded guilty April 17.
McLinton, a 10-year Redskins veteran, died Oct. 31 a month after he was struck by an automobile on Interstate Route 295 in Southeast Washington. According to police, McClinton was returning from a speaking engagement at the D.C. Lorton prison Oct. 1 and stopped his car on the highway. He was standing beside a car parked on the shoulder of the Northbound lanes just south of the Portland Street exit when a white Mustang slammed into him; he was thrown more than 50 feet.
McLinton, 33, was flown by helicopter to the Washington Hospital Center, and while he remained on the critical list more than 1,500 friends and fans donated more blood than he could use. His death was caused by complications from massive injuries.
According to police, Naylor, the driver of the car that hit McLinton, turned himself into police the next morning after realizing he might have been involved in the incident.
In the papers filed with the court, Carl Rauh, Naylor's attorney, said Naylor had not initially realized he had hit McLinton, believing instead that some youths had been throwing rocks at his car.
Naylor, 32, who has served 13 years in the Air Force, was stationed at Bolling Air Force, was stationed at Bolling Air Force Base at the time of the accident. Attorney Rauh declined to comment on the sentence yesterday, but in court papers, Rauh said Naylor "has been under enormous stress and anxiety during the past six months and wishes to put this matter behind him without the added strain to himself of a prolonged and difficult litigation."
It could not be learned yesterday what form Naylor's community service will take and whether he will perform it in the Washington area.
McLinton, who often played while injured and whose teammates called him "Tank" because of the bandages and protective padding he wore constantly, had a job with Metro as a youth service specialist and recently had been involved in a Metro program aimed at curbing vandalism. In 1979, shortly after his Redskins career ended, he helped coach the University of the District of Columbia football team.
According to police, McLinton was unfamiliar with the area where he was driving at the time of the accident and was following another driver back toward Washington. McLinton apparently was thanking the other driver for her help when he was hit.