Driver who ran over girls playing in leaf pile has conviction overturned

Article author: 
Everton Bailey Jr.
Article publisher:
Article date: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Article category: 
Article Body: 

The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a young woman who killed two girls in 2013 when she ran over them...

There was insufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros knew or had reason to know she injured stepsisters...

Authorities said the girls were likely lying in a large mound of leaves on the street in October 2013...

The Appeals Court said Oregon law doesn't require a driver to return to the scene of an accident after leaving and later learning that someone else was injured or killed.

...Garcia-Cisneros testified during her trial in January 2014 that she felt a bump while driving over the leaves, but thought she'd run over a rock.

...The boy returned home and told his sister she might have hit two children. She was arrested the next day.

A Washington County Circuit Court jury convicted Garcia-Cisneros, then 19, of failure to perform the duties of a driver. Judge Rick Knapp later sentenced her to three years of probation and 250 hours of community service.

Prosecutors argued Oregon's hit-and-run law required Garcia-Cisneros to go back to the crash site after she learned someone may have been hurt. Garcia-Cisneros initially sought an acquittal citing insufficient evidence to prove her guilt, but it was denied by the lower court. She later appealed her conviction.

Garcia-Cisneros' attorney said during the trial that she was shocked and in a state of denial after she found out about the children...

Garcia-Cisneros told the girls' parents during her sentencing hearing that she should have returned to the scene and asked for forgiveness. The girls' mother, Susan Dieter-Robinson, said they did forgive her.

After her conviction, Garcia-Cisneros was taken to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma because she wasn't an American citizen....

Her conviction put her in danger of deportation, but an immigration judge dismissed her case in August 2014 and she was released from custody....