After a drunk driver killed her four-year-old son, Raquel Nelson was charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide and jaywalking. Instead of walking a half-mile to the crosswalk after she got off of the bus, Nelson chose to cross the street at the median with her children. Although it’s a common practice for bus riders, who complain that the crosswalk should be closer to the bus stop, prosecutors blamed Nelson for her son’s death.
In what seemed like a cruel joke, once convicted, Nelson faced more time in prison than her son’s killer. Immediately support sprang up for Nelson. The local NAACP rallied supporters and more than 125,000 people signed an online petition.
Although she could have faced up to four years in prison, yesterday Judge Kathryn Tanksley gave Nelson a year’s probation and ordered her to complete 40 hours of community service. Judge Tanksley even offered Nelson the unusual option of a new trial, and according to Nelson’s lawyer, she will take the judge’s offer.
Despite being relieved that she will be able to go home to the rest of her children, Nelson says she will live with the constant reminder that her little boy is gone.