The man who hit and killed a Valley teenager been convicted of criminally negligent homicide.

Last week 30-year-old Bryon Melton pleaded guilty to killing 15-year-old Austin Edenfield when his truck struck and killed the teen along Pitman Road.

On February 8, 2016, Austin was walking to the grocery store with his best friend Will Johns when the truck came up behind them. Will said Austin pushed him out of harm’s way.

“Austin was no longer by my side and he was in the air. I saw him come down and he hit the ditch face first,” Will said in an interview last year.

Troopers identified Melton as the driver at the time but he wasn’t arrested until about eight months later when investigators learned Melton had drugs in his system.

Under Senate Bill 91, the presumptive range for criminally negligent homicide is one to three years; because the victim was under 16 in his case, that range goes from two to four years in jail.

Palmer Assistant District Attorney Shawn Traini said Melton pleaded guilty to the most serious aggravator for the crime, which means the judge could sentence him up to 10 years.

Melton’s sentencing is set for May 1.

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