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Furor rises over mom’s conviction for vehicular homicide

Hit & run driver kills her son

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A Georgia woman who was convicted on misdemeanor charges in the death of her son who darted out into traffic will not spend time in jail, a judge ruled Tuesday, according to a story at

The case of Raquel Nelson had attracted national notice from parents, the NAACP and even transportation advocates who said the Marietta woman was being unfairly pursued for just trying to cross the street as any other pedestrian would do.

Dozens of the suburban Atlanta woman’s supporters crowded the courtroom Tuesday and applauded as Judge Kathryn Tanksley sentenced her to 12 months of probation and 40 hours of community service.

She also said Nelson could seek a new trial.

“I’m walking out of here,” Nelson told reporters after her sentencing. “I don’t think you could be more satisfied.”

Defense attorney David Savoy said his client is weighing her options, but would mostly likely seek a new trial.

Nelson and her three children had just gotten off the bus at a stop across from their apartment building in April 2010 when her 4-year-old son, A.J., broke away from her and ran into the street.

A car struck the boy, causing fatal injuries. Nelson and one of her two daughters also suffered minor injuries.

Five weeks after the accident, investigators came to Nelson’s home, said her aunt, Loretta Williams. Nelson was charged with three misdemeanors: second-degree vehicular homicide, failing to cross at a crosswalk and reckless conduct, according to court records.

A jury convicted her this month. Although prosecutors did not recommend jail time, each count carried a potential sentence of one year in jail—for a total of 36 months.

The man driving the car, Jerry Guy, fled the scene after the accident but later admitted being involved, according to CNN affiliate WXIA-TV. He was sentenced to five years in prison but served only six months. He is serving the remainder of the sentence on probation.

Related links:
Prosecuting the victim, absolving the perpetrators
When design kills: the criminalization of walking
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