Hit-and-Run Driver Sentenced

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nikolette Gallo spoke before the family of a man she fatally struck during her sentencing hearing. She received probation.

    A 19-year-old woman has been punished after she plead guilty to striking a pedestrian while driving home late on a weekend evening.

    Nikolette Gallo received one year in jail and five years on probation. She was charged with a felony hit-and-run and a misdemeanor alcohol-related crime.

    Hit and Run Suspect Free on Bond

    [DGO] Hit and Run Suspect Free on Bond
    Nicolette Gallo is charged with one count of Felony hit and run causing death. She pleaded not guilty Tuesday in court. Mari Payton spoke with her defense attorney, King Aminpour. (Published Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012)

    She was 18 when she hit 23-year-old Sho Funai with her car before sunrise on March 11. Police later found Funai's body on the side of the road. Gallo turned herself in to police the following day, saying she thought she hit a couch lying on the side of the road.

    The judge said it was established that Gallo consumed alcohol and marijuana before the crash, which he took into consideration before the sentencing hearing.

    Pedestrian Struck, Abandoned on On-Ramp

    [DGO] Pedestrian Struck, Abandoned on On-Ramp
    Robert Vonder Reith, a friend of the graduate student Sho Funai who died after being struck by a vehicle, spoke to NBC 7 reporter Rory Devine about taking responsibility behind the wheel. (Published Monday, Mar 12, 2012)

    More than 100 of Funai’s friends and family members arrived from Los Angeles to hear Gallo’s sentencing. Since many people asked to speak during the sentencing, the hearing lasted Thursday and Friday afternoon.

    Dozens openly wept in gallery when family spoke.

    A picture of Funai was placed on the podium as his father spoke.

    "I don't understand why the victim has not apologized. She should carry the weight of this…like us,” Funai’s father said while sobbing.

    Funai’s father found out about his death on the day of his 59th birthday, and said “will never celebrate” his birthday again.

    "Probation can be wiped cleaned off her record,” Funai’s sister-in-law said. “I urge you to sentence the defendant to the maximum… Jail time is the only way my family can carry on with our lives without torment."

    The probation department asked for the maximum sentence of three years in prison.

    "He walked that night to avoid drinking and driving, Sho was struck from behind and left to die,” said Funai’s brother.

    “My son is not roadkill,” said his mother.

    Gallo’s attorney Paul Pfingst said that the victim should not have been walking alone, in the dark in the middle of the road. Her parents stared blankly at their daughter with no visible emotion on their faces during the sentencing.

    Before receiving her punishment, Gallo cried at the podium, saying she is “in pain every day” and is “truly sorry” for what happened.

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