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July 30, 2011

1

georgia jaywalking mom gets probation; son’s killer is out of jail

by Andrea O'Connell

You may have heard about this awful case about a mother, Raquel Nelson, 30,who was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide for the death of her 4 year old little boy?

On Tuesday, a Marietta Georgia judge sentenced her to one year probation and the opportunity for a new trial to clear her name.

Hold on, that’s only part of the story.

The story is this: In April of 2010, Raquel Nelson, anxious to get her children home before it got dark, was crossing a 4 lane highway with her three children.  Suddenly, one of her 2 daughters dashed off of the median and 4 year old, A.J., rushed after her.  That was when a van, driven by two-time hit-and-run driver, plowed into AJ, killing him.  Raquel and her daughter were struck also, but survived.

The driver of the car fled the scene.  The mother was charged; a jury found her guilty.

Her crime?  Jay-walking.

Raquel Nelson, say the authorities, had crossed the street away from the designated crosswalk, which was half-a-mile away.  (Her apartment was on the other side of the street, precisely where they crossed.)

The neighborhood, and residents of the apartment complex had long begged the city of Marietta Georgia to put a crosswalk there, it never happened.

AJ, 4. Credit: Today Show

Sometimes I am certain the government goes mad with power.  They sure did in this case.  Raquel, desperate and grieving the loss of her precious 4 year old, is ARRESTED and CHARGED!!!

What happened, you may ask, to the driver who killed the boy?  The driver who also FLED the SCENE.  The driver who has had 2 previous DUI’s?

What happened to him?

Well, he plead guilty to hit and run, and got six months.

Six months???

What is wrong here?

Here’s where this story gets incredibly maddening.  Raquel, found guilty of vehicular manslaughter, could have faced up to three years of prison, far less than the drunk driver who killed her son.

The driver who killed A.J., had been drinking, taking painkillers, and was blind in one eye. In addition, he was convicted TWICE before in prior hit-and-run convictions.  For his part in this 2010 crime, Jerry Guy, the driver, served six months of a five-year sentence for hit and run in this case.

Due to a huge public outcry, Raquel was spared prison time – the Judge gave her one year of probation with community service, and an opportunity for a new trial – to clear her name.

Raquel Nelson. Credit: Today Show

Given all these facts about the driver, the State Prosecutors choose to charge the grieving mother?

Well, the cold as ice State Attorney’s Office would say, “She admitted to Jay-Walking….”  Or, they’d say, “She admitted that she was wrong….”

WHAT?

I jaywalk everyday when I walk my dog.

For God’s sake, I never even think about Jay-Walking.  I know the police have passed me right by as I stand there waiting to cross the street with my dog.

Is it because I am white?

God help me for saying that, but something is very wrong here.  Although, the driver and the victims are black….  So. Maybe not.

But, Georgia is populated with some good ole’ Southerners.   So…. Maybe.

I do not know the make-up of the jurors, but not one of them has had to use mass transit as transportation.

This is clear over-prosecution, say legal experts.  There is NO evidence of ANY kind of negligence of the mother.

What kind of despicable government agency would even THINK to charge a woman who is out of her mind at having just seen her son die???

It makes me so mad.

Raquel Nelson, appearing on the TODAY show this past week, is the picture of grace when she said:

I’ve had to accept that he’s gotten six months, there’s nothing I can do about it.  I’ve had to forgive that portion of it. However, I think to come after me so much harder than they did him, it’s a slap in the face. This will never end for me.

“…Forgive that portion of it,” she said.  That’s why I say Raquel Nelson is the picture of grace.

By the way, the city of Marietta is considering putting in a crosswalk now.

I don’t want to be too cynical and say:  “Too little, too late.”

Well, I just did.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. dee
    Aug 1 2011

    Appalling, just appalling!!! I signed the online petition, in protest of the handling of this case. It is unbelievable what happens when individuals whom we entrust with power to serve and protect, simply lack common sense. I do not get it..!!!. In my minds eye I think about the meetings, conversations and discussions between the DA’s office, police, detectives and investigators and just sit back and wonder why on earth was this ever a good idea? Why prosecute this mother…afterall, she witnessed her only son hit by a car and killed … What were they thinking?

    Reply

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