BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Outrage from the family of a Virginia man killed in a car accident after prosecutors offered a plea deal to the Maryland driver who caused his death.
Derek Valcourt explains the victim’s family says they’ve been wronged.
At first, prosecutors said they could prove the defendant was texting while driving but the victim’s family says that driver is now getting away with little more than a slap on the wrist.
“I’m mad. I’m really mad,” said the victim’s grandmother, Carol Meloy.
The family of 30-year-old Jonathan Roberts thought the driver who caused the young father’s death would get some jail time.
Prosecutors originally said they could prove Elizabeth Meyers, 21, was texting her mother at the time of the March 2013 crash on Route 3 in Gambrills. She was charged with negligent manslaughter, reckless driving, negligent driving and texting while driving. But Meyers accepted the prosecutor’s plea, allowing her to plead guilty only to negligent driving and pay a $500 fine.
“To give somebody a $500 fine for a life–that’s just not fair. How are you going to say that somebody’s life is just worth $500?” said the victim’s girlfriend, Jessica Cooper.
“We’ve spoken with the family. We’ve tried to explain to them the situation that we’re in,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt-Leitess.
Colt-Leitess blames problems with the case on a key witness who described seeing Meyers texting seconds before the accident.
“Even though he was a very credible witness when we first interviewed him, his statement changed completely and was actually contradicted with the physical evidence and the evidence in Ms. Meyers’ car,” she said.
But that’s not good enough for the victim’s family.
“They needed to bring in the witnesses; they needed to bring in the evidence,” Meloy said. “Let the jury or the judge make that call.”
During Monday’s hearing at the courthouse, Jonathan Roberts’ mother spoke directly to Meyers.
“I wanted her to understand the pain she has brought to this family and what she has taken from us and what she has taken from my granddaughter,” said Barbara Hartle.
In court, Meyers said nothing and showed no remorse.
The victim’s family worries she hasn’t learned her lesson. Just last month while waiting for her court date, Meyers was pulled over again in Anne Arundel County for going 30 miles over the posted speed limit.
With the criminal case over, the victim’s family is now pushing ahead with a civil case against Meyers and her mother. That case should begin early next year.
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