A judge presiding over the case of a University of Miami student who was killed in a hit-and-run accident rejected a plea deal presented by the defendant’s attorney Thursday.
Valentina Hubsch, 47, is charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving injury after police say she fatally hit 21-year-old student Jared Paul Jones in 2010. Her attorney, Albert Levin, argued that his client did not deserve jail time.
“I don’t think a jail sentence is appropriate in this case, nor did the state” he told NBC 6 South Florida.
The family of the victim, whose attorney said believes hit and runs are a big problem, disagreed. They fought for the plea not to be accepted and believe Hubsch should go to jail to set an example for the entire community.
“This is an issue that is larger than just Paul, this is an issue of all the victims that have fallen to a hit-and run accident,” said Jones’ mother Betsy Jones.
No jail time, the family said, would serve as an “evil example,” according to their attorney William Richey.
Betsy Jones was also accompanied by her husband and children in court, who had all written letters to the judge about their family member.
Jones was allegedly hit by a car driven by Hubsch, who was headed northbound on Red Road as he was walking in the street near the intersection of Red Road and Blue Road. The 21-year-old student from Maryland died after being in a coma for 10 days.
Hubsch’s attorney, Levin, argues that the student was "impaired" during the time of the accident.
“He put himself in harm’s way,” he said. “No other way to put it. It is a tragic, unavoidable accident that occurred here and two families are suffering as a result.”
“But it doesn’t matter because without question her car struck him, he died, and she didn’t call 911,” he said.
Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat ended the two-hour hearing by advising that both teams negotiate a plea deal within the next 30 days. If not, the case could be set for trial.