Durham man sentenced to 75 days in jail for killing cyclist

Russell Grant Rutledge_327150

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A Durham man charged with hitting and killing a cyclist on Highway 98 in May 2016 appeared in court Thursday for sentencing.

Russell Grant Rutledge, 33, of Durham pleaded guilty to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the crash that killed Eugene Rotberg.

He was sentenced to 75 days in jail and will have his driver’s license revoked for one year.

Rotberg, 66, was headed east on NC 98 near Kemp Road when he was hit.

In court Thursday, Rutledge apologized to Rotberg’s family for what happened.

“I really do apologize. And there’s nothing I can do to take it back, but I really do apologize,” Rutledge said.

Rotberg’s wife, Diane, said in court the couple had planned trips around the world and was about to celebrate their 30th anniversary before Rotberg died.

“To me, it still feels like yesterday, and days do not go by, that I do not cry myself to sleep,” Diane Rotberg said.

Rotberg had recently retired from Wake County Public Schools before he was killed. He was a P.E. teacher at Dillard Drive Elementary School.

A North Carolina State Highway Patrolman said investigators discovered there was email activity on Rutledge’s phone one minute before he called 911.

Investigators said following the crash that speed was not a factor.

Judge Pat Evans said Rotberg’s family must find it in their hearts to forgive.

“Forgiveness is not for him. It’s for you, so you can go on with your lives,” Evans said.

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