Here’s one that will rock your senses. A mother and her small children exit a bus to get home. They stand at a street corner waiting for the light to change. But the mother’s young son bolt’s from her side following behind someone else across the street. Mother runs to grab her son and both are hit by a drunken driver. Mother survives but her son dies. The drunken driver gets six months jail time and the mother gets three years. There’s something very wrong with this picture.
My friends at Color of Change need our help in getting this grieving mother released. Read the full story and sign the petition.
A.J. Nelson was just four years old when he was killed in a hit-and-run by an intoxicated driver in Atlanta. Now his own mother, Raquel Nelson — who was also hit by the car while trying to save her son — faces up to three years in prison for A.J.’s death.
Raquel and her three children got off a bus and — with several other passengers — attempted to cross a five-lane highway to get to her apartment across the street. Standing at the median, little A.J. reportedly saw someone else jaywalk and ran out into the street to follow. Raquel ran out after him to stop him. But it was too late. Both Raquel and A.J. were hit by a vehicle, and A.J. died in the hospital a few hours later.
The driver, who admitted having a few beers and pain medication that afternoon, spent just six months in jail. This Tuesday, a judge will sentence Raquel Nelson to serve up to 36 months in jail for the death of her own son.
Please sign the Change.org petition to tell Judge Kathryn Tanksley and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal not to jail Raquel Nelson on Tuesday. Improving safety is more important than punishing innocent mothers.
Raquel Nelson’s family will deliver your petition signature to Judge Tanksley at her sentencing on Tuesday. It’s critical to speak out by Tuesday to prevent Raquel from serving a day in jail.
Though the stop itself was directly across the street from Raquel’s apartment where she got off the bus, the closest crosswalk was nearly a mile away. After a long day out in Atlanta, and a missed transfer, Raquel crossed the street with other passengers on the bus, taking the most direct route home.
Raquel was prosecuted for “vehicular homicide” and other charges because she and A.J. didn’t use a crosswalk to walk home. Unfortunately, she is not the first grieving mother to be prosecuted for the hit-and-run death of her child in Atlanta. The same prosecutor who convicted Raquel for her son’s death also convicted another Atlanta mother whose daughter was killed in a hit-and-run while attempting to cross the street.
A Change.org member named Eliza Harris is an urban planner who read about Raquel’s prosecution. She started the petition because she knows it makes more sense to use the money spent to prosecute Raquel to instead create crosswalks and better serve people who use public transportation.
Prosecuting grieving mothers is not the solution — Judge Tanksley should not sentence Raquel to jail, and Cobb County should make streets walkable and safe. Please sign the petition before Raquel is sentenced on Tuesday: