Teen sentenced for hit-and-run crash

June 29, 2012 3:27:49 PM PDT
It was an emotional day in the courtroom for two families as well as the judge as a young man was sentenced for a hit-and-run crash that nearly killed a woman last October.

Douglas Coleman got his driver's license eight days before this accident. He almost killed one of his neighbors. On Friday, he went straight from the courtroom to jail.

Though his attorney says he's sorry for what he's done, Coleman, 18, didn't visibly react when Judge Kevin Fine told him he's going straight to jail for the next 180 days.

"But for the grace of God, Mrs. Kiel would not be sitting in this audience today," said Judge Fine.

Sharon Kiel is one of Coleman's neighbors. Last October, the mother of five went for a neighborhood jog with the family dog, Copper, when deputies say Coleman blew through at least one stop sign, hitting both.

"I was thrown 10 to 15 feet from where I was hit and I know I hit the windshield because there was makeup on the car," Kiel said.

The Kiels' 50-pound Vizsla dog cushioned Kiel and died. Coleman left the scene, and later told his father he'd hit a pole.

"Why didn't he call the hospitals? Why didn't he call the police? Why didn't he find out what happened? Instead, he denied it and then the day after that the same thing," said her husband, Jeff Kiel.

The court heard details of Kiel's nearly year-long recovery. Doctors gave her only a 10 percent chance to survive.

"I had nine surgeons put me back together. My face, my arm, my knee, my heel, my aorta," Kiel said.

Combined with the graphic photos of her injuries, it brought tears to not only the couple's five children, but to the judge himself.

"I could not help but imagine seeing my own wife in that condition," Judge Fine said.

In all, the judge gave Coleman five years probation that starts with 180 days in the Harris County Jail. From there, he'll go to the treatment facility Young Men about to Change for six months. He'll perform 250 hours of community service and he will not be allowed to drive for the next five years.

The judge told Coleman he must also visit local high schools twice a year, detailing his mistake. And he will be ordered to pay for Kiel's medical bills as her treatment continues.

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