A California teen convicted of plowing a car into a mother and her 8-month-old son will spend just five months in a diversionary program thanks to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, according to the woman who survived the crash.
Despite shocking surveillance video of the Aug. 6, 2021, incident, numerous eyewitnesses and initial felony charges, the teen will serve his sentence at a “juvenile probation camp,” an alternative sentence less severe than juvenile detention.
“I thought those were the last moments of our lives; we were dead,” the mother, who asked to be identified only as Rachel, wrote in a victim’s impact statement. “That feeling, along with the memory of a car accelerating directly into us, will haunt me forever.”
Surveillance video recorded the entire Aug. 6, 2021, hit-and-run in Venice, Calif.
(Los Angeles County)
Gascon’s office called the final sentence of five to seven months in youth camp “an appropriate resolution.”
“Fortunately, the baby was uninjured, and the mother received a laceration to her elbow,” his office told Fox News Digital Friday. “The Sheriff’s Department agreed with the felony charges that were filed. At arraignment, the minor admitted two felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and one felony count of hit-and-run. The Probation Department recommended, and the court sentenced the minor to a youth camp for five to seven months, an appropriate resolution.”
Juvenile justice is meant to “rehabilitate young people,” the statement continued.
“In this case, this teen will be held accountable for his actions and receive the needed services to foster positive development to keep him from committing future offenses.”
According to police sources, the driver, 16 at the time of the crime, initially told investigators the victim appeared out of nowhere, and he struck her by accident. He was initially charged with felony driving while intoxicated and, given the circumstances of the incident, could have faced several more serious charges if Gascon’s prosecutors had the leeway to push for them.
Multiple videos show the car veering directly at the mother and child while speeding the wrong way down a narrow backstreet with no sidewalks. After mowing them down, the driver attempts to drive away, only to be stopped by another driver who rams the stolen sedan with a pickup.
After striking Rachel and her 8-month-old, the wrong-way driver collided with a pickup.
(Los Angeles County)
Rachel, in her statement, repeatedly called the attack an attempted murder and lambasted Gascon for what she called a policy of seeking juvenile justice with “the lightest touch possible.”
She said the driver got so close she could see the whites of his eyes.
“As the car approached me and my child, I stopped walking and moved the stroller and myself up against a building on the right side of the road to ensure that we gave the reckless driver plenty of room to pass,” Rachel said. “As the car got dangerously close to us, [the juvenile suspect] turned the wheels in our direction and accelerated as he aimed to kill us.”
Rachel said she lived in fear for seven months before the driver was taken into custody on a bench warrant after skipping court and added she will continue to live in fear after his short sentence is complete.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is facing a second recall attempt as criticism over his progressive policies intensifies.
(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
“I was also told that his record would be wiped clean when he turns 18,” she continued. “How on earth can that be? He tried to murder two innocent pedestrians. Murder. And we have video evidence. My child would be dead if I hadn’t been there to protect him.”
In the harrowing collision, with a wall to one side and the approaching car on the other, Rachel said she lifted her son’s stroller straight up just before impact, which she credits for saving him from more severe injuries.
“George Gascon doesn’t value my life or the life of my child, or any other victim out there and would rather reward the monsters like [the juvenile suspect] by demonstrating to them that their actions have no consequences,” Rachel’s statement continues. “DA Gascon is telling him and every other thug in LA County that it doesn’t matter if you try to murder people. Why are Gascon’s policies prioritizing the livelihood of rotten monsters when my child, my baby, who is incapable of protecting himself, is left to fend for himself, and is essentially being told his life doesn’t matter?”
Gascon’s office has come under fire for months for what critics say is a soft approach to prosecuting crime. He has maintained that his reforms are aimed at creating a fairer criminal justice system.
As he has issued directives handcuffing prosecutors from seeking sentencing enhancements or other stiffer penalties, homicides in Los Angeles have soared, according to city and county law enforcement.
Hannah Tubbs began identifying as female after being arrested in a 2014 child molestation case in Los Angeles County.
(Los Angeles County)
“I have never been more surprised or disappointed, and, in fact, I have never felt so victimized as I have by the system and current policies of LA’s DA, George Gascon,” Rachel wrote. “My heart breaks when I think about all of the other victims out there, less fortunate than me, whose murderers are getting lenient sentences and being released from prison before their sentences are complete.”
At the same time, controversial cases involving juveniles are often sentenced without public scrutiny because they are not subject to the same public records rules as adults.
Another example involves a 26-year-old child molester who received a sentence of just six months in a juvenile facility for girls after claiming to identify as female following an arrest eight years after the crime. That offender is now in custody in Kern County on murder charges.
Gascon is facing a second recall effort, which has the support of deputy prosecutors in his own office. The petition surpassed 500.000 signatures earlier this week, and organizers say they need just 67,000 more by July 6 to secure a ballot.
On Thursday, a California appeals court upheld an injunction barring Gascon from refusing to charge “three-strike” cases, which dramatically increase prison terms for repeat felons.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @mikerreports