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.