DENVER (CBS4) –A bus driver charged in connection with a deadly crash that killed two people and left several others hurt in downtown Denver has been sentenced to probation.
“I have no reason to believe that isn’t absolutely genuine, that she feels incredible pain for what happened,” said defense attorney Darren Cantar.
Tideneykiyalesh Hawariyat had pleaded guilty to two counts of careless driving resulting in death and one count of careless driving resulting in injury in the April 2010 crash.
Hawariyat was driving an RTD bus when she failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of 8th and Lincoln. She collided with two vehicles, including a Volkswagen, killing Carla Miranda and Dustin Peletier.
“A misdemeanor for a death is just conditionable,” said Lorraine Delao-Miranda, Carla’s mother. “We were prepared that nothing would change, but this was our one chance to speak our mind and say how we felt.”
Ten passengers on the bus were hurt and one passenger in a second vehicle was injured.
The district attorney decided Hawariyat would be charged with careless driving, not reckless driving, because video from the accident shows she was not texting, talking, or doing anything that would distract her. A reckless driving charge would have resulted in a stiffer penalty.
“This was an accident. It’s an unfortunate thing, it’s an awful thing, the results are awful and tragic, but in the end it’s an accident,” said Cantar.
Hawariyat was employed as a driver for Veolia Transportation, a private transit provider for RTD at the time of the crash.
As part of the plea agreement, Hawariyat was given a one-year suspended jail sentence on the condition she successfully complete three years of probation, perform 250 hours of useful public service, pay a $450 fine and additional fees and court costs, and relinquish her driver’s license for three years.