Vermont mom sentenced for running over woman
NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - A Newport mother was sentenced on Wednesday for running over a woman with her van last year. Our Ike Bendavid spoke with the victim and her mother after the sentencing in Orleans County.
“To run somebody over and leave them like a frog in the road to die and try to leave -- that’s just not right,” said Tina Garand, the mother of Emily Lussier -- previously known as Emily West -- the 35-year-old hit by Monica Donofrio in Newport plaza parking lot last May.
Donofrio was sentenced to six months of home detention and five years of probation for the charge of gross negligent operation with serious bodily injury resulting. Lussier says she confronted the Newport mom about leaving her children alone in the vehicle. “The car alarm was going off, the windows were rolled up, the kids were crying,” she said. “In my mind, I was trying to do the right thing.”
Police say Donofiro then ran over Lussier, leaving her with injuries to her pelvis, back, and knee, that she says she is still recovering. “I can’t walk for long periods, I can’t sit for long periods, stand for long periods,” Lussier said.
Donofrio apologized in court Wednesday. “I am so sorry for my responsibility in your pain and what, and how I reacted to an extremely stressful situation for everyone,” she said.
Wednesday morning in court, two mental health experts, including Donofrio’s personal psychologist, testified to her mental state. Both said Donofrio has a troubled past of abuse and trauma and she felt threatened when Lussier approached her.
“I failed to be responsible in that situation of in terms of how I left, because I was in such a panic to, to get out of there, to get to a place where I could feel safe again,” Donofrio said.
Lussier says she is at peace and the testimony made her realize they had things in common like a troubled past. “I accept her apology for sure more than I did before,” she said.
But for Garand, who says she spent countless hours by her daughter’s side at the hospital, isn’t happy with what she calls a light sentence. “I cried, ‘That’s not fair.’ And I think Monica should be ashamed of herself,” Garand said
Prosecutors say they were pushing for that six-month home detention to be behind bars.
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