CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - A man urged a judge to nix jail time for a teen charged with reckless driving in a head-on crash that killed his wife.
Ruth Ann MacQueen was on her way to see her mother on the morning of Nov. 15 when she was struck by another vehicle in a head-on crash on Shillelagh Road.
Lauralee Moose, 18, was charged with reckless driving and will only have to serve community service. A judge had sentenced her to six months in prison, all of which were suspended.
Roger Pope told WAVY.com he wanted Moose not to spend time in jail. He said because the teen had no other offenses and was genuinely sorry for what happened, he wanted prosecutors to show her mercy.
"It was hard meeting her with all the emotions that were running rampant, but she wanted to apologize," Pope said. "It was very painful with what happened, but the fact that she wanted to take the time to apologize that meant a lot to me and my family."
MacQueen was a well-known veterinarian in the Chesapeake community, working at Midway Veterinary Hospital. He still wears his wedding ring.
"It's very comforting. This way I know she is with me everyday," Pope said.
By the court date, Pope said he had made his peace with what happened and found a way to let go of the pain that came with losing his wife.
"God teaches us to forgive and part of forgiving is you have to move on," Pope said. "She has to live with that the rest of her. She took something very valuable from the community and myself. She still has to live with the fact that she took this person's life."
After MacQueen's death, the community pleaded for safety improvements on Shillelagh Road, which has seen seven accidents since MacQueen's death.
"It's the same people that fly by here in the morning and they fly by night," resident Frances Norge said. "There were two accidents last week that shut down the road for I don't know how long. There needs to be more police enforcement, more speed control, more awareness but that hasn't happened."
Speeding isn't the only concern on Shillelagh Road. The layout of the road leaves little room for driver error, with narrow lanes and ditches on each side.
The City of Chesapeake recently conducted a safety survey on Shillelagh Road with the Chesapeake Public Schools, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Chesapeake Department of Public Works and Chesapeake Police.
The Chesapeake Department of Public Works is currently reviewing the survey recommendations. Once they are done, they will present recommendations to Chesapeake City Council.
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