Raquel Nelson faced more time in jail than the drunk driver who killed her 4-year-old son. Police initially charged her with three misdemeanors but, just yesterday, two of the three charges against Nelson were dropped.
In 2011, Nelson was convicted of three misdemeanors: second-degree homicide by a vehicle, crossing the roadway elsewhere than a crosswalk, and reckless conduct. The driver, meanwhile, only served six months of a five-year prison sentence; he has spent the remainder of his sentence on probation.
Nelson could receive two years behind bars for crossing at a bus stop instead of the legal crosswalk three-tenths of a mile away.
"The white stripes of a crosswalk are not impenetrable walls of steel that could have prevented a driver from striking someone crossing the street," Nelson's attorney David Savoy told HLN. "Don't think for one moment that this mother of three doesn't blame herself for what happened."
The driver of the lethal vehicle, Jerry Guy, fled the scene after the accident and only then served six months of a five-year sentence. However, Nelson was convicted of the three misdemeanors and sentenced, but her lawyer decided to fight the conviction and chose to have a retrial, which was to begin this week. Two of the three charges against Nelson were dropped.
Nelson instead pleaded no contest to crossing the roadway elsewhere than a crosswalk and paid a $200 fine, thereby settling the case once and for all. It received national attention from groups such as the NAACP and Transportation for America, which sided with Nelson and argued that she should never have been convicted of any crime.
This is "a grave miscarriage of justice when the mother who is still grieving is forced to fight harder for her freedom than the man who killed her son," the NAACP said in 2011.
"Because she did as her fellow bus riders, who crossed at the same time and same place, and because she did what pedestrians will do every time – take the shortest reasonable path – she is guilty of vehicular homicide," Transportation for America communications director David Goldberg wrote in Nelson's defense.