Woman gets prison in teen's hit & run death - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Woman gets prison in teen's hit & run death

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Laura Flanders Laura Flanders
PHOENIX -

Police say she was so high on medication -- she drank nail polish and then ran over a young man walking on a sidewalk.

That young man was killed. Thursday, a judge ordered driver Laura Flanders to prison.

This was very painful and emotional for both sides. The victim was a high school student and the suspect a young mother. Flanders got six years in prison. The victim's family believes that is not enough.

When he was killed, Joey Romero was just 18 and dreamed of joining the army. For the first time in court, the woman who killed him apologized.

"From the bottom of my heart I want to say how sorry I am to the family for the suffering and loss that I have caused them," said Laura Flanders.

Two years ago, Flanders ran onto the sidewalk near 83rd Avenue and Thunderbird and hit Joey Romero as the Centennial High School student was walking home from his job. Joey died. Flanders, who was 23 at the time, took off.

Flanders told police she was on medication and dazed when the accident happened. She pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.

"All we ask for is justice and for her to understand that she caused us something. Not years of life. No, a whole lifetime of pain," said Jesse Romero, Joey's father.

Family and friends asked the judge to impose a longer sentence, but six years was the max.

"She got off easy in my book."

For the past year Jesse Romero worked to pass what's become known as Joey's Law. Under it, drivers involved in a fatal hit and runs can lose their license for up to 10 years instead of 5.

"They need to apply stricter laws so that people will understand and get it through their heads that it is not right to leave people there to die."

Flanders is engaged and has a young child and no criminal history. She hoped for a shorter sentence.

"There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about their son, their brother and their friend," said Flanders.

"She left my son there to die, that don't show remorse at all in my book," said Romero. "She will have her daughter back in six years. She will have her family complete in six years. I will never have mine complete again in my life or family's life."

Joey's family hoped that the new law could apply to this case but because the crime occurred before the law was passed, it couldn't apply here.

After she spends six years in prison, Flanders will be on probation for three.

Related story: Woman pleads guilty to negligent homicide in 2010 hit-and-run


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