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A grieving African-American mother in Georgia is facing the potential of more time in prison than the drunk driver who struck and killed her child and then fled the scene.

Raquel Nelson lost her four-year-old son while trying to shuttle him across a five-lane highway, along with two of her other children. Jerry Guy — a partially-blind man who has admitted to having consumed alcohol and painkillers beforehand — hit the young boy with his vehicle. The child later died of his injuries. Nelson and her daughter were also struck and suffered injuries.

An all-white jury has convicted Nelson of homicide by vehicle in the second degree, jaywalking and reckless conduct. She could serve up to three years in prison.

David Goldberg of Transportation for America expressed his outrage that the all-white jurors couldn’t seem to place themselves in the shoes of a mother trying to provide essentials for her children while crossing a five-lane highway–which encourages speeding in a mixed-zoned community:

That’s right: Because Nelson did not lug her exhausted little ones three-tenths of a mile from the bus stop to a traffic signal in order to cross five lanes of traffic, she is guilty of vehicular homicide. Because she did as her fellow bus riders, who crossed at the same time and place, and because she did what pedestrians will do every time – take the shortest reasonable path – she is guilty of vehicular homicide.

Meanwhile, the drunk driver, Guy — who was previously convicted of two-hit-and-runs in one day in 1997 — was initially charged with hit and run, first degree homicide by a vehicle and cruelty to children. But the charges were later dropped to simply hit and run. Guy served a six-month jail term and will spend the remainder of his five-year sentence on probation.

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  • Kroozer

    When I heard “jaywalking” I was thinking she was just crossing a street and not using the convenient crosswalk. The article shows a 5 lane highway. She was in the wrong for having her kids cross the highway in the first place and the fact that the driver was drunk doesn’t absolve her negligence. She hasn’t been sentenced, just convicted and will probably get a much lesser sentence.

    I’m not getting on the Al Sharpton race wagon on this one. She put her children in danger and if she chose not to cross a highway repeat a HIGHWAY, not a street, alley or walkway, the kids would be alive. Black, white, yellow or brown, trifling parenting is trifling parenting.

    And yes, the driver should have gotten a stiffer sentence but I’m not going to deflect from the mothers negligence either.

    People have to slow down that backing up people without knowing the facts just because they’re black.

    When we make big deals about non-issues it takes away from those of us who speak up when we have valid points to make. Just look at all the energy and credibility of the black community wasted on the Duke Lacross stripper.

    • Patience

      Kroozer- race has little to do with her decision making -granted it was a poor decision but for damn sure, but she should not have been charged with homicide. I doubt however that if this woman had been a white woman that the jury would have made the same ruling -it’s just a reality.
      And the Duke lacrosse thing? Really?What in the world does that have to do with a woman who made poor decision to cross a 4 lane hwy to get her children home before dark and gets hit by a dui driver who is partially blind and who basically gets away scott free? You are quick to bring up race yourself -what about the woman who claimed a black man kidnapped her children only to learn that she rolled her car with children inside in the river to drown? Or the woman who threw acid on herself and blamed a black woman. We could go on and on…but the bigger picture is this and you should realize, this isnt a story but a reality and is someone’s life.

      She lost her child and she and her other child were injured -focus on the bigger picture and the offending party got off with very little while she was charged agreviously

  • Beff

    C that a driver will stop but if the driver sober and paying attention then they would’ve stopped or slowed at the appropriate place. Therefore I can’t say I agree with going along with the new “American Way” and sewing the city. Now the reason I decided to comment in the first place is I resent the media and anyone else for that matter for implying or flat out saying that she got the sentence that she did because it was handed down by an all-white jury. This has unfortunately also been a reoccuring theme in America…everyone looks sonjatd at everything to find where they can turn into an issue of race. Until ALL of us stop doing this there will always be race issues in America…not just in the South i might add.

    • Beff

      It didnt post my whole message so I apologize if it doesn’t make sense