Court Does The Right Thing Clearing Raquel Nelson of Homicide Charges: She Lost Her Son. She Didn’t Need Jail Time

Italian educator Maria Montessori said that the loss of an object is punishment enough for a child. If they pick up a glass object and drop it, and it breaks into tiny pieces, that loss is sufficient. They should not be scolded. That is how I felt Raquel Nelson should have been treated by the judicial system when a drunk driver struck and killed her four-year-old son, A.J.

According to a July 27, 2011 story by Today contributor Scott Stump,  “[Nelson] was convicted of second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct, and failure to use a crosswalk during an incident

that occurred on the night of April 10, 2010. She and her three children had gotten off at a bus stop in Marietta, (Georgia), and were trying to cross a four-lane highway without using a crosswalk inorder to reach their apartment.”

This time, justice prevailed.  On June 13 homicide charges against Nelson were dropped. She won’t go to jail now, just because she opted for a retrial to clear her name of the homicide charge, appealing to Cobb County Superior Court, said a story released today on

Perhaps some good will eventually come of this poor mother’s loss, and the Georgia Dept. of Transportation will consider how to make crossing safer for families without cars.

The Today story continues, “Jerry Guy, a man who had two prior hit-and-run convictions, struck the family with his van as they were crossing, killing 4-year-old A.J. Nelson in the process. Guy served a six-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to a hit-and-run and was released on Oct. 29. He is currently serving five years of probation. Nelson could have been sentenced to up to 36 months in jail.”

The story goes on to say that Nelson had crossed with the children to the median, carrying a bag of groceries. After some other people crossed, she followed. Her little boy ran ahead and was struck by Guy’s car.

Here’s a look at his record. “Through his lawyer, Guy admitted at the time to having consumed alcohol earlier in the day while also on pain medication. Guy also is also partially blind in one eye, and had two prior hit-and-run convictions on his record that both occurred on Feb. 17, 1997. He received a two-year prison sentence but was released in less than a year for those convictions.”

Some justice.

When I think of all the parents who have ever unintentionally put their children in harm’s way, even letting them ride a bike without a  helmet, I think, there but by the grace of God go I.

Not even parents who kill  children by  “forgetting” them in hot cars have received sentences. Would you call that “reckless endangerment?” I would.

There’s a limit to the criticism parents should have to endure when they make a single error in judgement.  Even if others consider it “reckless endangerment.”

How about the boy on the football field who is not sufficiently protected by his gear and suffers a head injury? Those parents should have had the gear tested.

Or the parent who gives a child a gum ball, and the child chokes. They shouldn’t have let the child have  it.

I guess we would have to go after almost every parent at one time or another, because no parent is perfect.

I believe  most parents are trying to do their best. Most would even die for their kids. Sometimes they don’t use common sense, though, but that shouldn’t be a crime. Not like locking kids in a closet, or beating them.

People make mistakes. The idea of going after everyone to the letter of the law is indeed unfortunate –  like the zero-tolerance policies that plague our schools today. They would have a child suspended for making a pop-tart into a gun. It just doesn’t make good sense.



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