Sam enters plea in Feb. 28 fatal hit-and-run

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – A Taylor man faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to one of four felony charges resulting from the February crash that took the life of a Taylor teenager.

Justin Robert Saum, 35, pleaded guilty on June 15 to failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death.

“The sentence will be based upon the judge’s scoring of the sentencing guidelines,” said Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller.

The maximum penalty is 15 years in prison.

While accepting Saum’s plea, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Ulysses Boykin dismissed the charge of operating on a suspended license causing death.

Saum originally had been charged with four counts following the crash on Feb. 28, when he struck a mini-bike driven by 17-year-old Kennedy High School student Austin McCumber. Charges of operating on a suspended license causing serious injury and failure to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident were dismissed last month.

Police and prosecutors said that McCumber had driven through a stop sign near the intersection of Joan and Harold streets when his mini-bike collided with a vehicle driven by Saum, whose license had been suspended last year. McCumber and a passenger, 17-year-old Truman High School student Martin Jaime, were transported to a nearby hospital.

Jaime was treated and released soon after. McCumber died from his injuries several days after the incident.

Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said that, while Saum had not been at fault for the collision, he should not have been driving and was in further violation of the law for leaving the scene.

Saum is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12. He remained in custody following last week’s court hearing on $350,000 cash bond.

(James Mitchell can be reached at