In a "Contact 17" investigation, a local family mourning the death of their mother, is also infuriated over the sentence given to the man who hit her while driving drunk.
Police say 74-year-old Shirley Whitley was crossing Gosford Road, not in a cross-walk, when she was hit by a drunk driver.
"We all thought she'd make it. She was the strongest lady I'd ever met," said Whitley's daughter, Kymberlee Newton.
Newton says it wasn't like her mom to jay-walk and she can't believe she would have done it that night. But what she finds even harder to believe, is the sentence given to the man who hit her mother.
"He got the standard sentence for a first time DUI," said William Slocumb, the driver's defense attorney. In fact, Slocumb said, Ramon Lobregat actually got more than the standard sentence, he was given four days in jail, rather than two.
"It's a shame," Newton said, "to see the legal system fail us like that, and treat him like a drunk driver who got pulled over and couldn't pass a test."
"From what I know, he was twice the legal limit," said Rob Handel, who'd known Whitley for a long time. Court records show lobregat's blood alcohol content was 0.187 percent, more than twice the 0.08 the law considers under the influence.
Still, Slocumb says it was clear from the beginning it would only be a misdemeanor DUI charge.
"In order for it to be a felony DUI, the DUI, the driving under the influence has to be the cause of the death," said Slocumb. He says because of the way Whitley crossed into the street, the driver couldn't have avoided her, even if he'd been sober.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Saleen said the charges were appropriate for the case and in line with what police requested.
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