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Fallout Continues From Gabrielle Nestande Verdict
The legal ripples of the Gabrielle Nestande (pictured) verdict continue to grow. The jury handed down a 10 year probation sentence after finding her guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the hit and run death of Courtney Griffin. We talked with a victim of a similar crime who told us how Nestande's punishment stirred her to action.
"I came down on the hood on my tailbone and then came back and hit my head," the victim of a hit and run accident told KEYE TV's Katherine Stolp.
Her lawyers said they didn't want us to use the victim's name because they're still trying to find the driver who hit her with a pickup truck and drove away.
"Hearing the noises over and over again is what I've been struggling with," the victim said about the accident that happened last month.
She told us she was traumatized. Her second MRI is scheduled this week to check for brain injuries.
The Nestande hit and run trial started two weeks after her accident.
"For me it has been a reflection of realizing how insanely lucky I was that my accident was not fatal," she said.
The victim told us she watched the trial closely and waited patiently for the jury to reach a decision after 21 hours of deliberation.
"It was personal," she explained. "I felt for the victim's family. I was saddened for the victim that we she was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"When the verdict of ten years probation came down, I was enraged, I was so angry," she said.
She thought it sent the wrong message to the public. "It's heart wrenching, it sticks you in the gut. Something needs to be done in the city of Austin."
"I was surprised that this hasn't got attention before now," said State Senator Kirk Watson.
He drafted a bill that would add a decade of possible jail time if the victim of a hit and run accident dies.
"It's almost like it's a loophole that it's the same penalty regardless, and I don't think that loophole ought to exist," Watson said.
The hit and run victim we talked with plans to reach out to Senator Watson and other lawmakers to tell her story. She hopes to make the punishment for hit and run drivers more severe.
In the meantime, Austin police are working to catch the suspect in her case. She told us she plans to go after the stiffest penalty possible.
By Katherine Stolp