Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident In Nevada
Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident can especially be risky and should be avoided, as the recent sentencing of a Reno, Nevada man truly reveals.
Gilbert Hernandez was recently sentenced to a year in the Nevada State Prison for failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death. That crime is considered a felony in Nevada.
A story in The Record-Courier detailed that Hernandez had fled the scene of a car accident with married couple Thomas and Barbara Smith on May 4th before being caught some 15 minutes later. Apparently, Hernandez had failed to see the Smith's vehicle when pulling out; thus causing the car accident.
The Smiths had to be airlifted to a Reno medical center for their car accident injuries. Mr. Smith recently developed some bleeding in his brain and has also been exhibiting stroke-like symptoms that have been attributed to his car accident injuries.
Hernandez pleaded no contest to the charge and said that he fled the scene of the car accident out of fear of what would happen to him. Hernandez had been illegally living in the United States for four years. While he was not drinking and driving at the time of the action and did not have any criminal record, Hernandez's decision to leave the personal injury accident proved to be costly.
Douglas County District Judge Dave Gamble sentenced Hernandez to seven years in prison, suspended and then placed him on five years' probation. Basically, the story said that Hernandez will spend a year in jail and also have to pay more than $65,000 in restitution. Upon being released from prison, Hernandez will be brought to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for deportation back to Mexico.
Under Nevada state law, Hernandez should have spent a minimum of two years in prison. However, Gamble said that he felt that this was sentencing was a bit too harsh considering that it was a tougher penalty for drug crimes and that the Smiths were injured during the accident and not by Hernandez leaving the scene.
The Smiths had asked for prison and deportation for Hernandez, who apologized for his actions and asked for forgiveness from the family. Gamble has already ordered a hearing if federal officials choose to deport Hernandez before the end of his one-year prison sentence.
This all-around sad case teaches the importance of what not to do when involved in a car accident. Whether you've been injured in a serious car accident or have been unscathed, you should never leave the scene. Doing so can bring on a whole host of other legal problems and result in some very serious charges.