The Associated Press
HILLSBORO, Ore. — A 19-year-old Oregon woman who drove an SUV into a leaf pile, killing two young girls playing in it, has been sentenced to three years of probation.
The Oregonian newspaper reports a Washington County judge imposed the sentence Friday on Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros. A jury earlier in January found the woman guilty of two counts of felony hit-and-run earlier this month.
The woman had learned after arriving home Oct. 20 that she may have struck children in Forest Grove — 25 miles west of Portland — but didn’t come forward. Police found her the following day.
The prosecution said the deaths were accidental, but the woman was required to return to the scene of the accident as soon as she learned of it. Her defense lawyer said the law doesn’t say anything about the requirements when a driver learns later about an accident.
Authorities said the two girls — later identified as stepsisters, 6-year-old Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and 11-year-old Abigail Robinson — were likely concealed by the leaves and not visible to Garcia-Cisneros.
Anna died at the scene. Abigail died later at a Portland hospital.
Minutes after Garcia-Cisneros hit the leaves on her way home from getting fast food, her brother returned to the scene and saw a man standing over the pile, screaming. The man spoke to him briefly.
The boy went home and told his sister she may have hit two children.
Defense attorney Ethan Levi said Garcia-Cisneros was in a state of shock and denial after learning of the children and fixated on the possibility she wasn’t the driver who struck them.
Prosecutor Bracken McKey told jurors that Garcia-Cisneros’ choice not to come forward was morally and legally wrong.
The judge had the option of imposing only probation or a maximum of three years in prison. In addition to probation, the judge ordered Garcia-Cisneros to perform 250 hours of community service.
An immigration attorney said the woman will next be taken into federal custody on an immigration hold and she might be deported. Though she has temporary permission to be in the country legally under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, applicants in that program cannot have certain criminal convictions.