Judge rejects plea deal in fatal hit-and-run crash from 2010
Updated On: Sep 07 2012 07:53:56 AM EDT
A Miami-Dade County judge rejected a plea deal for a woman charged in a hit-and-run crash that killed a University of Miami student in November 2010.
Jared Paul Jones, 21, was killed on November 21, 2010, when he was hit while crossing Red Road in Coral Gables. The University of Miami student died days later at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Valentina Hubsch, 47, turned herself into police a few days after the crash. She was charged with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death.
The plea before Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat on Thursday suggested that Hubsch do hundreds of hours of community service, have monitoring, and serve probation instead of serving jail time.
"I can't fathom how anyone could do this, but I also cannot understand why the prosecutors in this case would change the charges," said Betsy Jones, Jones' mother. "Not that it was just my son but it could have been anybody's son -- it could have been anybody's mother."
Jones' family wept as they pleaded to the judge. However, state attorneys believe Hubsch shouldn't serve jail time because Jones' friends said he had taken drugs the night of the crash and other drivers had called 911 reporting a young man acting erratically before it happened.
"You had a person who went on a, a bad trip or whatever you want to call it, from drugs, and was jumping in front of cars and was laying in front of cars," said prosecutor Tim VanderGiesen.
Betsy Jones said she struggles with the moral part of the crash.
"There was absolutely no way someone could hit a human body -- he was on the dash on the hood of the car -- and that person could stop and look and drive away," said Jones.
It was the first time Hubsch addressed the family since Jones' death.
"I just want you to know how truly sorry I am for your loss," said Hubsch.
After two hours of testimony, the judge rejected the plea deal.
"Even if he had been the cause of the accident, once she knew or should have known, she had hit a human being, she should have and not called the police until 24-hours later," said Rodriguez-Chomat.
The case is expected to reconvene in about 30 days.
Betsy Jones said she is fighting for more than just her family.
"It's not just about Paul -- this is an issue about all the victims who have fallen to a hit-and-run accident and the way these crimes are actually prosecuted," said Jones.
The victim's family said they are willing to take the case to a jury trial if needed.
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