Grieving Georgia Mother Convicted of Jaywalking Faces Jail Time
Raquel Nelson, of Marietta, Georgia, was convicted of jaywalking and now faces a possible three year jail sentence. A seemingly excessive sentence for a minor infraction. And what makes this even more unbelievable is that Nelson’s four-year-old son was killed when the family was forced to jaywalk across a busy city street at night. After losing her son, this woman now faces the fact that she might be separated from her two remaining children.
After a day of shopping for birthday supplies, Nelson, who doesn’t own a vehicle, was exiting the city bus with her children across the street from the family’s apartment complex. Since night had already fallen, and the nearest crosswalk was a distance away, Nelson made the decision to jaywalk with her children and a few other bus riders. When Nelson’s son noticed one of the other pedestrians dart across the street he decided to follow suit and was struck and killed by a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle admitted to drinking and taking painkillers the night of the accident and has two prior hit and run convictions. The driver received a six month sentence for killing Nelson’s son.
A month after her son was killed, Nelson was arrested. She was tried and convicted and will face sentencing next month. Nelson’s defenders are asking why city planners are placing bus stops nearly a mile from crosswalks, a fact that continues to endanger the lives of citizens. The question is also raised as to why a three time convicted drunk driver received a six month sentence for killing a child, while a grieving mother faces three years in jail. When interviewed on The Today Show, Nelson said jurors were specifically asked if they had ever taken public transportation and not a single juror admitted to having done so.
A petition is available to sign on Change.org and those enraged by the court’s stance on prosecuting a grieving mother for homicide by vehicle and reckless conduct are encouraged to add their signatures.
UPDATE : Raquel Nelson has been offered the opportunity for a new trial to clear her name. Let's continue to support her until she is proved innocent of these charges in her son's death. If you haven't already, please sign the petition by clicking the "petition" link above. Here's an article about the progress. Thanks to all who already have and thank you to Happyboomernurse for updating me on the progress!