A Hudson man was sent to prison Friday in the death of an elderly woman from a distracted driving incident near Roberts last year.
Robert Charles Boles, 38, was sentenced to three years in prison and five years extended supervision for one count of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle.
Lucille M. Hanson, 84, was killed when she was struck by a 1997 Ford Taurus driven by Boles while walking on County TT near her home in Roberts.
The incident occurred about 3 p.m. Sept 19, 2012. The weather was clear and not a factor, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.
Boles left the scene with a gaping hole on the right side of his windshield. Authorities found his car at his parent’s home in Hudson.
Boles pleaded guilty to one felony count of vehicle homicide on June 19. Felony charges of hit-and-run involving death and knowingly operating while revoked causing death were dismissed in a plea bargain.
“I’ve done dozens of homicide by vehicle cases and none are easy,” said Judge Eric J. Lundell in handing down the sentence. “I’ve thought long and hard about it. This is no ordinary case and not a probation-type case.”
Assistant District Attorney Michael Nieskes asked for two years in prison and an appropriate length of extended supervision. “He shouldn’t have been on the road. He was not legally able to drive,” said Nieskes, noting Boles had been driving without a driver’s license since 2006. Public Defender Brad Keith called for a two-year prison sentenced to be stayed and probation with a series of conditions. He said his client was looking down at a cell phone in his lap and believed he hit a deer when the incident occurred.
“He was traveling below the speed limit and in his lane,” Keith said. A reconstruction of the accident scene showed the victim was two feet into the roadway, he said.
The judge cited Boles’ prior issues with the law including an OWI and an inattentive driving citation in 2004 when he rear-ended another car, the fact he had been on probation before, and was distracted by cell phone use and did not stop after the accident.
Representatives of both the victim’s and defendant’s families spoke during the two-hour hearing.
Glena Hanson, daughter-in-law of Lucille Hanson for 32 years said, “Our everyday life is not the same. There is an empty spot in our hearts.”
She asked the judge for a sentence of three years in prison and seven years extended supervision.
Marvin Burton, a son-in-law, said it was basic knowledge from high school driver’s education not to drive without a license.
“It is no longer an accident if you drive away,” Burton said.
Boles’ mother, Yvonne, said her son had a difficult time in school and had trouble reading and comprehending.
“The reason he was driving was to make money for child support,” Yvonne Boles said.
She said he had become very involved in church since the accident.
“Rob still needs guidance and my husband and I are willing to do all we can,” she said.
“There has been pain in both families this last year,” said Doug Boles, his father. “On the day of the accident I called Rob and he said, ‘I just hit a deer’ then came directly to our house.”
“He does not process things like you and I do,” he said.