Woman sentenced to jail in bicyclist's death

2013-04-12T00:28:00Z 2014-03-13T06:35:02Z Woman sentenced to jail in bicyclist's deathPaige Fieldsted - Daily Herald Daily Herald
April 12, 2013 12:28 am  • 

PROVO -- Nine-year-old Kathryn Crow sobbed as she talked about her grandfather and the memories she has of him.

"I don't get to spend time with him anymore, I wish he were here," she said through her tears. The little girl was one of three family members of Douglas Crow who spoke at the sentencing of Maria Fregoso-Avina.

Fregoso-Avina was sentenced to spend 210 days in the Utah County Jail, with credit for 56 she has already served, for negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor. Crow was riding his bike on the morning of Feb. 15 and was stopped safely at the railroad tracks at 600 S. 700 West in Provo, when he was run over by Fregoso-Avina, his son Steven Crow read in a statement.

Police say Fregoso-Avina's windshield was covered in frost and she was driving fast in order to cross the tracks before the train came. They also say Fregoso-Avina made no attempt to help Crow before he was struck and killed by a FrontRunner train.

"It is impossible to describe the hole left in the lives of many people... and the memories we have been robbed of because of this tragic accident," son Alan Crow said, speaking to Fregoso-Avina. "He wouldn't want another life ruined because of this. Thank you for pleading guilty. The maximum penalty is not harsh and we hope you will serve that and find peace and forgiveness."

All of the family members present asked that Fregoso-Avina be sentenced to the maximum one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. Lance Star, attorney for Fregoso-Avina, said she had shown remorse and had taken responsibility for her actions by pleading guilty to negligent homicide, something he says he advised her against. Star also provided letters from the community in support of Fregoso-Avina.

"I don't feel the facts support the charges," Star said. "But she wanted to give the family closure."

Prosecutor Marcus Draper said they don't believe Fregoso-Avina acted intentionally or recklessly, which is why the case was being charged as a misdemeanor rather than felony manslaughter. He too asked for the maximum sentence.

Draper called two witnesses, one from ICE and one from the Provo Police Department, who testified that Fregoso-Avina had shown little remorse or emotion during the investigation and prosecution of the case.

"I am sorry and I am sorry for the family. It was not my intention in what happened," Fregoso-Avina said tearfully.

Fourth District Judge Derek Pullan said he appreciated the family coming to make statements and the others who wrote letters. "No court hearing is long enough to capture the life of any person," Pullan said. "From what I have learned I believe that Douglas Crow wouldn't want another life to be ruined ... I don't believe he would have wanted the full sentence."

Pullan did not impose any fines saying that while they are justified the reality of being able to collect them isn't there. Pullan did sentence Fregoso-Avina to read the 10 to 15 letters from the family members during her time in jail.

Star said once Fregoso-Avina has completed her sentence is served she will be released directly into ICE custody and be taken back to Mexico. Fregoso-Avina was in the United States illegally and operating her SUV without a driver's license at the time of the accident.

-- Paige Fieldsted covers robberies, burglaries, murders and any other crimes and court cases happening in Utah County. Follow Paige on Twitter at @paigefieldsted.
Read more from Paige Fieldsted here.

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