In April of 2010, Raquel Nelson took her three children and went to celebrate a family birthday. On the way home, they stopped at Wal•Mart for groceries.
Mothers with children go to birthday parties and the grocery store all the time. Ms. Nelson does it on MARTA trains and buses.
Now she only does it with two children, because some fool who’s blind in one eye and had had “three or four beers” and was on pain pills ran over her kid.
And she might be going to prison for vehicular homicide.
Ms. Nelson and her three children got off the bus with their groceries across from their apartment, 600 yards from the crosswalk, at the intersection of Austell Road and Austell Circle. Austell Road is a “big road” – big enough to have a median.
Ms. Nelson elected to cross to the median and then to go on across to the other side.
She was toting groceries and a 2-year-old, and keeping up with a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old. 600 yards is about a third of a mile.
I wouldn’t have walked that far after riding trains and buses all day with three children and groceries to cross the street and then walked that far back, and I don’t think anybody reading this would, either.
Because you never expect a man who’s blind in one eye, half-drunk, and on pain pills to be out driving on your street, and certainly not one who has already been convicted of two hit and run accidents on the same day.
Because when the worst happens, you never think you’ll be convicted of vehicular homicide when you don’t even have a car, let alone do you think the fool who killed your child will be charged with first degree homicide by vehicle and cruelty to children and then somehow manage to get the charges dropped to hit and run.
Jerry Guy, the man who was driving that car, served six months and will serve 5 years on probation. His lawyer says that it “affects him still, to this day.” Believe me, mister, my heart bleeds.
I do not know how we have reached a place where a woman crossing the street with her children – who was, herself, injured – loses a child and becomes a victim of the system that is supposed to be her champion. I do not know, and I do not understand.
I do not know how 12 middle-class white men and women who have never had to take public transit can be considered a jury of Ms. Nelson’s peers. I do not know how this case made it all the way to trial. I do not know and I do not understand.
I’m so mad I could spit quarters. Somebody come over here and catch them up in a cup so we can give them to Raquel Nelson – she’s gonna need them.