No Jail for Mom in Son's Hit-and-Run Death

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on July 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Raquel Nelson, a single mother from Marietta, Georgia, likely went through one of the toughest and most agonizing events a parent ever has to go through: her son was killed right in front of her.

Nelson, however, went through another harrowing ordeal soon after her son's death. Nelson was convicted of second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct, and failure to use a crosswalk, MSNBC reports.

Nelson jaywalked a four-lane freeway with her three children after they got off at the bus stop outside their apartment. Four-year-old A.J. was struck and killed by Jerry Guy, who also has previous hit-and-run convictions, MSNBC reports.

Guy pled guilty to the hit-and-run, and served a six-month prison sentence. He is also serving out five years of probation. Nelson could have been sentenced to 36 months in jail based on her convictions, but was instead sentenced to 12 months of probation and 40 hours of community service, reports MSNBC.

She was also given the option of a new trial in order to clear her name. At this time, Nelson has decided to go for a new trial.

Nelson's plight has become a point of popular protest, including the NAACP and transportation advocates. More than 135,000 people signed an online petition that was advocating leniency for the mother.

The bus stop where Nelson and her children had gotten off was on the side of a busy four-lane freeway. Nelson's apartment complex was right across the street, but the nearest crosswalk was about half a mile away from the bus stop itself, according to Forbes. Perhaps this was the result of negligent city planning?

Even if there was negligent city planning, it seems clear that the original jury thought that Raquel Nelson was responsible for her son's death. In Georgia, homicide by vehicle in the second degree is when any person causes the death of another person without an intention to do so as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Was Nelson the cause? Or was the city of Marietta, or whoever designed the city bus stop to be in such an inconvenient area?

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