(TERRE HAUTE) - 20-year-old Lindsay Pinegar, of Terre Haute, who admitted to fleeing the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed 13-year-old Nathaniel Lawson in 2009 was sentenced to six years - but no jail time - Thursday in an emotionally charged hearing.
Pinegar was ordered by Vigo Superior Court 1 Judge John Roach to serve the first three years of her sentence on in-home detention and the next three years on supervised probation.
After the sentence, Lawson's mother, Dana, ran from the courtroom, upset that Pinegar did not receive any time behind bars.
Roach also ordered Pinegar to serve 1,000 hours of community service during her probation by talking to students learning to drive about the Oct. 9, 2009, accident that claimed Nathaniel's life.
She must also continue to be employed and to receive counseling.Lawson died of massive internal injuries after he was struck by Pinegar's Hyundai Sante Fe as he, his brother, and his cousin walked along Park Avenue during a dark rainy evening on their way to a convenience store.
Pinegar was not arrested and charged in the case for more than 13 months after the accident. The arrest came after her mother confided to a co-worker that she helped conceal Pinegar's involvement in the hit-and-run. It was that co-worker who tipped off investigators.
Pinegar told the judge she did not see the boys until after she had hit them and looked into her rear-view mirror. She said she kept driving to a friend's house, where she called her mother and told her what happened.
Michelle Pinegar Chambliss testified that her daughter was hysterical when she called,.
Chambliss then drove to the friend's house to get her daughter. On the way, they passed the accident scene were emergency responders working to save Lawson and his older brother, who was also hit.
Chambliss said she took her daughter home and went to bed. The next day she took her daughter's vehicle, which had been damaged in the incident, to James Carrier's home in Veedersburg. There, he smeared deer blood and fur on the vehicle to hide the damage.
Chambliss and Carrier were both charged in Fountain County with obstruction of justice for their involvement in covering up the hit-and-run accident. Chambliss was given a suspended sentence and a $1,000 fine. Carrier was sentenced to one year on in-home detention.
Dr. Michael Murphy testified Thursday that Pinegar was depressed and anxious when he started seeing her, and he felt that Pinegar was very dependent upon her mother. But with counseling, she has become ready to accept responsibility for what happened. Pinegar often cried during the hearing.
Nathan's grandmother, Patty Jones, presented a poster of photographs documenting the boy's life, from birth through his toddler and school years, to casket photos of him at his funeral.
Nathan's mother said her son dreamed of being either a professional wrestler or a defensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts, and he wanted to walk along the Great Wall of China with his mother. She also said he was protective of his older brother, Mike, who was diagnosed as a boy with diabetes.
Since her son's death, Lawson said she and her son, Mike, have had a hard time living with the loss of Nathan.
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