Bus driver who killed pedes­trian gets pro­ba­tion

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE -

The for­mer CLEVE­LAND —

RTA bus driver who fa­tally struck a woman cross­ing the street in Pub­lic Square last De­cem­ber sobbed through her Mon­day sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, where she was placed on pro­ba­tion for a year and or­dered to do com­mu­nity ser­vice.

An­toinette Peterkin clutched her stom­ach as she apol­o­gized to the vic­tim’s chil­dren, who had asked Judge John J. Russo not to send Peterkin to jail after she pleaded guilty last month to a mis­de­meanor ve­hic­u­lar homi­cide charge.

“I don’t know how I take any com­fort in pun­ish­ing a mother for tak­ing away an­other mother,” Bill Ke­undig, the son of Joan Ke­undig, told Russo.

Russo obliged. He im­posed a 6-month sen­tence that he then sus­pended, and placed Peterkin on a year’s pro­ba­tion and sus­pended her driver’s li­cense for a year.

Russo also or­dered Peterkin to com­plete 20 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice at MetroHealth each month of her pro­ba­tion.

If Peterkin fails to carry out any por­tion of the pro­ba­tion, Russo could im­pose the six-month jail term.

Kuendig, a 69-year-old mother and grand­mother, crossed the street out­side the Key Tower about 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2016, as Peterkin drove the bus on East Road­way Av­enue near Rock­well Av­enue.

Peterkin rolled through the stop sign and struck Ke­undig as she walked into the marked cross­walk.

Ke­undig was con­scious after the crash, but was bleed­ing from the mouth and nose. Peterkin said she got out of the bus to help Ke­undig, but “froze” when she saw the blood.

Kuendig was taken to MetroHealth, where she died 22 days later.

Ke­undig was plan­ning to visit Italy to cel­e­brate her 70th birth­day, her daugh­ter, Pa­tri­cia Ke­undig said at Mon­day’s hear­ing. She had never been out of the coun­try, and had her pass­port ap­pli­ca­tion in her purse when she was struck by the bus, her daugh­ter said.

Pa­tri­cia Ke­undig, a crim­i­nal de­fense at­tor­ney in Utah, said her mother’s death chipped away at her faith in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. She ques­tioned why nei­ther RTA nor Peterkin called her fam­ily.

She re­called spend­ing 22 days next to her mother’s side at MetroHealth, play­ing Christ­mas and Mo­town songs and Cleve­land Cava­liers games for her mother as she lay fight­ing for her life.

She said her ideal sen­tence would be for Peterkin to con­sole griev­ing fam­i­lies at MetroHealth, and to con­tinue spread­ing kind­ness into the world after her com­mu­nity ser­vice is over.

“As I process this loss, I need more hope in hu­mans, and in jus­tice,” she said.

Peterkin stood to speak and turned back to Ke­undig’s fam­ily in the court­room. She never ad­dressed Russo.

She strug­gled to catch her breath at times and begged Ke­undig’s chil­dren for for­give­ness. She said she hasn’t got­ten a full night’s sleep since the ac­ci­dent.

Ke­undig’s fam­ily locked eyes with her, sobbed and nod­ded their heads as she spoke.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.