OWEN CO, Ind. (WTHI) - A woman faces prison time for her role in a hit-and-run accident that left one 12-year-old boy dead.
That accident occurred on the night of January 22, 2011 in Cunot, Ind. Witnesses told investigators William "Billy" Bottoms had been walking with other children along State Road 42 after a dance at the Cunot Community Center.
Those with Bottoms told police that, as they walked, a car hit Bottoms and drove off, leaving the boy severely injured. Eventually, he died of those injuries.
Several days later, Tabitha Lucas of Quincy, Ind. admitted to police that she had been driving through Cunot with her then-husband that night and had hit Bottoms. She told authorities she stopped her car a few yards away and walked back to find a crowd gathering around Bottoms. She said she then panicked and left.
Lucas also told authorities that her father Mark Blake and her husband William Lucas replaced the windshield broken in the crash and tried to burn the glass.
In May 2012, Lucas pleaded guilty to Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident. Officials said the plea was not part of a plea agreement.
On Tuesday, Lucas appeared in an Owen County Courtroom for sentencing. Members of Bottoms' family asked the judge to give Lucas the maximum sentence of eight years in prison.
"On January 22, 2011, a lying coward killed our son," said Terry Bottoms. "She deserves the maximum of eight years."
Prosecutors argued that the emotional, physical and financial cost to Bottoms' family were cause for a more severe sentence. Lucas' defense, however, argued that Lucas had not been charged with causing the boy's death but with fleeing the scene afterward.
"Should she have stayed? Absolutely," Lucas' attorney told the judge. "She feels terrible about it. She's been on medication for depression."
In the end, the judge gave Lucas a six-year sentence, with four years suspended and two to be spent in prison.
Lucas declined to speak with News 10 after the hearing.
Meanwhile, Bottoms' father Terry Bottoms said there was some good news in the midst of his son's death. He said Billy Bottoms' organs were donated to seven other people, including a 15-year-old girl who received his heart.
"She calls him a hero," Terry Bottoms said. "So do I."
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