80-year-old Ohio woman gets 5 years' probation for leaving fatal accident scene
John Kosich, WEWS-TV
4:22 PM, Jan 14, 2013
4:25 PM, Jan 14, 2013
CLEVELAND - An 80-year-old Cleveland area woman who admitted to leaving the accident scene that killed 13-year-old Charles Kho was sentenced Monday.
On Oct. 17, 2011, police said Kho was walking down Cook Road in Olmsted Township when he was hit by a car. The teen was passing out invitations to his friends for his birthday.
Helen Fettes, of Olmsted Falls, originally pleaded not guilty but then changed her plea to guilty.
On Monday, Fettes was sentenced by a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge to five years' probation and house arrest. Her license was suspended for life and she has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $125,000.
Judge Hollie Gallagher told the court this was one of the most difficult cases on her time on the bench from all sides.
"I feel a great deal of sympathy for the family of Charlie Kho," Gallagher said. "With regard to Mrs. Fettes, many of us have elderly parents and grandparents who I think we can see in situation similar to yours but I still always find myself going back the fact a 13 year old boy has lost his life."
The medical examiner's office said Kho died of blunt force trauma to his head and it was ruled an accident. He died on his 13th birthday.
An employee at the Ganley Automotive Body Shop tipped off officers to Fettes. The employee said Fettes brought in her car for body work and insisted on paying without reporting it to her insurance company.
Charlie Kho's family had asked the judge for jail time for Fettes. She faced a maximum of 6 and a half years. "I feel that giving her house arrest or probation would not do justice for the crime she committed," said Charlie's mother Ali Kho in court.
"We realize her age but in your sentencing that should not be an issue. Due to her age and illnesses she may not have years to live but my son still had a lifetime ahead of him," she said.
The Kho family left the court after the sentencing by a side door and had no comment.