Driver who hit and killed 3-year-old girl pleads guilty, apologizes to family for ‘terrible accident’

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A driver accused of killing a three-year-old girl while crossing a Broadview Heights street with her family pleaded guilty and apologized for what he did before learning his sentence Monday.

Jordan Goughler, of Strongsville, was originally charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.

Monday, he was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which were suspended. He was fined and placed on 12 months of probation. His license was suspended for five years, and he must perform 100 hours of community service.

The mother of Janyia Thomas says the family was crossing Taylor Avenue at East Royalton Road last month when the suspect's car hit them.

Janyia died, but her mother and two other children were not injured.

In court, Goughler read a statement to the family.

"It's hard to put into words the feelings I've been experiencing since that day, and I can't imagine how the sadness and heartbreak her mother and the entire Thomas family had to endure," he said. "I feel personally accountable for my actions. Although I know in my mind it was a terrible accident, I also feel in my heart my mistake took someone beautiful away from the world."

The judge in the case described it as a horrible accident and emphasized there were no drugs, alcohol, texting or speeding involved.

Janyia's mother, Tamara Wilcoxson, said after the sentencing that she wishes Goughler would have gotten at least some jail time.

"I don't believe justice has been served," she said. "I just don't think it was fair."

Continuing coverage here.