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San Diego students petition for sentence in fatal car accident

The friends of a San Diego graduate student who was killed in a hit-and-run car accident earlier this year have started a movement. The friends are seeking to have the driver in that crash sentenced to jail, instead of to probation as is currently being considered by the California judge presiding over the case.

According to court documents, the fatal car accident occurred along Interstate 8 in Ocean Beach in March. The 23-year-old graduate student was walking on the shoulder of the road when he was struck by a car driven by a 19-year-old woman. The driver initially left the scene of the accident, but later turned herself in to police, admitting that she had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the crash.

She was arrested and charged with a felony count of hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor count of being a minor in possession of alcohol, to which she later pleaded guilty. She was not charged with DUI.

When the driver is sentenced later this month, she could receive a sentence of either probation or up to four years in prison. The friends of the deceased graduate student have created an online petition, asking the judge to choose the latter option. So far, the petition has about 3,600 signatures.

When asked why they are pushing for prison time, a friend the graduate student said that probation would simply be too light of a sentence. "I don't think it's appropriate," she said. "I think that it was a much bigger mistake than just probation."

Source: San Diego 10 News, "Friends of Hit-And-Run Crash Victim Start Petition," July 1, 2012

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