BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A Bellingham teenager was sentenced Friday on vehicular homicide charges for an accident that left a toddler dead.
Commissioner Alfred Heydrich heard emotional testimony from the victim's family in Whatcom County Juvenile Court . Heydrich sentenced the 17-year-old girl to 30 days in juvenile detention and 150 hours of community service. The teen is also ordered on one year of community supervision.
The sentencing comes after the teen was convicted of Vehicular homicide in the death of 2-year-old Anna Broulotte. She, her mom and two siblings were legally crossing the street in Bellingham in September when the teen rear-ended another car, forcing it into the crosswalk and over the Broulotte family. The teen admits she was distracted behind the wheel.
Prosecutors requested the standard range sentencing for the crime, which is 15-36 weeks in a juvenile rehabilitation center. But Commissioner Heydrich opted for a lesser sentence, saying that if he sentenced the teen to the standard range, he could not impose the community service.
“That is the best way to rehabilitate her,” Heydrich said. “I can't get that if I send her to the institution and she can’t get it either and the community can't get it. This way, she can directly contribute to the cause of avoiding further loss of innocent lives."
Heydrich said he wants the teen to give presentations and talk to other teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
The teen's 30-day detention begins 5 p.m. Friday.
After court, the toddler's family said they weren't angry by the sentencing. A family member said they just hope the family will use the community service to educate other teens about how dangerous distracted driving can be.