Kenosha County family faces drunk driver who killed their 5-year-old son

CREATED Jul 17, 2014

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KENOSHA - A mother and father in Kenosha, face the drunk driver, who hit and killed their young son. There was not a dry eye in the courtroom Thursday, at Marcus Thornton’s sentencing.

Bailey McCollum, 5, was described as a little angel on earth. And his dad, Larry, was his best buddy. Larry shared his memory of their last goodbye with the entire courtroom.

“We gave each other a hug and a kiss and said we loved each other,” Larry said “I watched him climb on to the school bus, his backpack nearly as big as he was. He walked up the aisle, took a seat, turned and looked out the window, giving me a wave and one last look at his beautiful smile.”

Larry would do anything to see that smile again. Bailey’s mom, Kirsten, shared the same heart-breaking sentiment.

“Never had I thought that my little boy would be taken from me one afternoon on the way home from a fun trip to the park with his sister,” she said.

Marcus Thornton was driving drunk last October, when he slammed into the mini-van Bailey’s older sister, Madison, was driving. Madison was seriously hurt, but survived. Bailey, the only passenger in the van, died at the scene.

Thornton had three prior drunk-driving arrests and no license. He was not supposed to be behind the wheel.

“There are consequences to the decisions and actions we make in life, therefore I believe that you should serve a sentence that respects the life of my son, and the harm that's been done to my daughter,” Larry told Thornton in court.

Thornton couldn’t hold back his own tears as Bailey’s family confronted him. After, he shared an apology.

“I wake up every morning thinking about this horrible accident,” he said. “I would give anything to take it back.”

And before it was all over, Bailey’s mom offered something no one was expecting: her forgiveness.

“I have forgiven what you have done, and I do this because I have faith in God and I have been supported by prayers of thousands since the accident” she said.  “I hope my forgiveness allows you to know that you can change.”

Thornton, who is also a father of three, was sentenced to 11 years in prison and nine years of extended supervision.