During Sentencing, Woman Admits To Smoking Pot Before Fatal Crash
A 20-year-old woman will spend nearly five years in prison for the hit and run death of a young father last summer.
Jasmine Herring left the scene after hitting Elijah Smith. Because of that, even though prosecutors suspected she was under the influence, they couldn't prove it.
But Thursday in court, the judge demanded the truth.
Two weeks before his death, 21-year-old Elijah Smith experienced the miracle of life: the birth of his son.
"I'll just tell him that his father was a very loving man, a very kind man,” said Elijah’s mother, Pamela Smith.
Nearly a year later, she says she's still struggling to find peace.
"I'm still at the hospital that morning when they said they didn't think he was going to make it. I'm still trying to process that. I'm still looking at his pictures telling myself he's not here."
Elijah was riding his bicycle home from work near Woodward and Woodland July 3 when he was struck by a car.
Although she fled the scene, Jasmine Herring admits she was the driver who hit Smith.
Thursday, his mother addressed Herring and the judge about to sentence her.
"He was hit so hard that he flew off his bike, hit the windshield and sunroof. The driver got out of her car, saw that she hit a person, saw that he was bleeding, and she got in the car and left,” Smith said. "I wonder what might have been different if you had immediately called for emergency medical assistance, if you had stayed to make sure he wasn't run over again."
Judge Mark Serrott said before signing off on a less than maximum sentence agreed to by the prosecution and defense, he wanted the truth about that night.
"I don’t believe you weren’t drinking,” he said to Herring. “I think that’s a lie. And you’ll own up to the fact you were drinking and that’s why you left. You were scared and you were drinking. You tell me all the truth, and maybe I’ll consider doing what they’re asking me to.”
"No sir, I promise you on anything I was not drinking at all,” said Herring.
“Were you smoking marijuana that night?” Serrott demanded. “What's the truth? Let's just have the...”
“Yes, I smoked. Yes," admitted Herring.
She apologized, saying Smith's death has haunted her.
"I had suicidal thoughts of killing myself every day,” she said, crying. “I have dreams about this boy every day!"
Smith's family says an apology, and even a prison sentence, don't change their terrible reality.
"Just waiting for this life to be over so we can see each other again,” said his mother. “That's all we have to hold onto."
Herring had already pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, failure to stop after an accident, and tampering with evidence.
Thursday Serrott sentenced her to four years and nine months in prison.