CLEVELAND — No jail time.
That was the sentence for an elderly woman responsible for a hit-skip accident that left a 13-year-old boy dead.
“A little disappointed,” said the victim’s father, Charles Kho. “We hoped to see some jail time. I feel that she kind of got away with not being responsible for her actions and to me I don’t care what your age is, I know she’s elderly, but if you do the crime, you should do the time.”
Helen Fettes, 81, apologized to the victim’s family in court Monday before her sentence was read.
It was October 17, 2011, on Cook Road in Olmsted Falls when she struck Charles Kho’s son, also named Charles, as he was walking with friends.
She didn’t stop to help. She just drove away. She later took her sedan to a repair shop to get it fixed. That’s when an alert manager notified police. She pleaded no contest to the charges against her, including vehicular homicide.
Fettes’ defense attorney explained in court that she was on the wrong medication for nearly 10 years.
She was given the drug Soma or Carisoprodol (a muscle relaxer), “That should never be given to anyone over the age of 65,” said attorney Michael Hamed.
“It can lead to impaired perception, impaired memory, impaired motor skills and confusion,” he said.
“This is my message to the family, not the court,” said Fettes before the judge handed down her sentence. “This circumstance has caused a lot of grief for me and health problems. I would like to apologize to the family and let them know how much I care.”
Facing a maximum of 10 and a half years in prison, Judge Hollie Gallagher sentenced the senior citizen to five years probation and house arrest. Her driving privileges are suspended for life, and she must pay the victim’s family $125,128.25 in restitution.
The judge said the drug’s side effects on Fettes were clear and she has a clean history.
Fettes is allowed to go to the doctor’s office and church during her probation. Fettes did not speak to reporters as she left the courtroom.
The family tells Fox 8 they’re very upset with the judge’s ruling.
They felt Fettes deserved the maximum sentence, since they will never see Charlie Kho again.
“I kind of knew what was going to happen, but there’s always that glimmer of hope would be some jail time,” said Charles Kho. “At least we got where she’ll be on house arrest and not be able to go out and hurt any other people, and not damage any other families like she’s damaged ours.”