After a fatal hit-and-run that killed a teenage girl, the driver responsible was only fined $145, prompting suspicions over police misconduct and demands for a harsher sentence.
“Everybody that loved her, cared about her, has to pay the price for life, but you pay $145,” her father, Christopher Hillman, told KSTU.
Victoria Hillman, 14, was trick-or-treating with two male friends on Halloween in Taylorsville, Utah, when she was killed while crossing a street at a crosswalk.
“The van did not stop. It plowed through her … There were fingernails on the asphalt, she was trying to get away from the van,” Hillman said.
A witness reportedly said the driver, 34-year-old Veronica Rodriguez, initially took off, but returned 15 minutes later.
According to KSL.com, police did not suspect the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Later, police gave Rodriguez a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, which caries a $145 fine.
It was later revealed the driver’s brother works for the police department responsible for the initial investigation, which Hillman believes is part of the reason Rodriguez was let off so easily. Although the case was later turned over to a neighboring police force due to a conflict of interest, the main evidence had already been collected, notes KSTU.
“I believe something shady went on because she left the scene -- I don’t think you should leave the scene -- she came back, and the police officer sent her away again within five minutes,” Hillman said.
"I went there, they acted really strange about everything,” he said. “It just doesn’t sit well, something’s off. Being that she’s related to the police department that responded and she’s getting off with just a slap on the wrist.”
He says the entire community is also upset.
“I mean, everybody’s like, ‘Seriously? What’s going on? A $145 ticket for the life of a 14-year-old girl?'”
“I’m not a judge,” he added. “But I would hope that in today’s world that we would have laws that would have a better outcome than $145. Whether that’s losing your license for a year, having to speak to the family of the people, of the daughter that you killed: explain what happened. You know, something. Something more than pay your $145 and walk.”