No prison time for teen driver in fatal St. Paul hit-and-run, victim's family cries 'bogus'
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A 17-year-old driver learned he will not serve a day in jail after killing a woman earlier this year in a hit-and-run crash in St. Paul. The ruling rocked the family of Taressa Wilson-Snyder, the young mother who died in the incident.
"Bogus,” said Sarah Wilson, Taressa’s mother. “That's exactly what I called it. It was bogus."
Wearing a t-shirt with her daughter's picture on it, Wilson says she is still trying to find justice.
“He got grounded for killing my daughter,” said Wilson. “He got grounded. He can still live his life and do what he wants to do. My daughter can't do that."
A judge sentenced the 17-year-old driver who struck and killed Taressa to four years in prison, but the sentence was stayed as long as the teen follows the terms of his probation until he is 21 years old.
The judge cited the teen's age and lack of a prior criminal record as some of the reasons for the stayed sentence, but Taressa’s family says it’s a slap on the wrist.
"How am I supposed to explain that to her daughter, that the man who killed her is walking scot-free?" said Wilson.
Prosecutors say the teen admitted to police he hit Taressa near Maryland Avenue East and Desoto Street while driving back from a friend's house in March, but he panicked and left the scene.
At the sentencing, the teen was in tears as he apologized for what happened, but the Taressa’s family doesn't believe he is sorry.
"I don't want your apology,” said Wilson. “I want you behind bars. There is no apology that will bring my daughter back. Ever."
Family members say Taressa’s daughter recently turned six years old and spent the day crying because her mother wasn't there. They say that's just one way they are serving a life sentence without her.
"I never want him to forget her name her face or her family,” said Wilson. “I will never let him forget because we will never forget ever."
The teenager must also perform 10 hours of community service a month for at least the next year.
A local defense attorney told FOX 9 if the driver had been 18 years old when the crash happened, he probably would have received a prison term right away.