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Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile 

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Old 01-19-2014, 02:13 PM
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Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

http://www.oregonlive.com/forest-gro..._guilty_1.html

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, guilty in fatal hit and run, faces up to 3 years in prison

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros sank to her chair after the verdict was read.

A Washington County jury unanimously found her guilty Wednesday on two counts of felony hit and run.

Driving an SUV the evening of Oct. 20, Garcia-Cisneros struck stepsisters Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and Abigail Robinson, 11, who were playing in a large leaf pile on Main Street in Forest Grove. Anna died at the scene. Abigail was taken to a Portland hospital, where she later died.

The 12 jurors deliberated for less than two hours before they reached a verdict.

The prosecution agreed with the defense that Garcia-Cisneros did not mean to hit the girls. It was an accident. But Garcia-Cisneros’ failure to come forward and identify herself to police was not.

Family and friends of Garcia-Cisneros and the victims crowded the courtroom throughout the proceedings. Anna’s mother, father and stepmother and Abigail’s father were among them.

About two dozen were in the room when the judge read the verdict Wednesday afternoon.

Garcia-Cisneros, who has been in jail since her Oct. 22 arrest, sat after hearing the verdict. She touched her hand to her forehead. She trembled and cried quietly.

Garcia-Cisneros testified in her own defense during her trial before Circuit Judge Rick Knapp. She told jurors that she was driving her brother and boyfriend home from picking up fast food when they saw a heap of leaves. She purposely steered into the leaves.

When she passed over it, she said, they felt a bump that she believed was a rock.

She continued driving around the block to her family’s home. Her brother hopped on his bicycle and pedaled back to the leaf pile, where he saw Tom Robinson standing over the girls, who were on the ground.

Robinson testified that he had been outside taking pictures of his daughter and stepdaughter playing in the leaves. His wife, Susan Dieter-Robinson, was at a meeting. It was shortly before 8:30 p.m., almost the girls’ bedtime.

He went in the house briefly to put the camera away and typed a text message to his wife, he told jurors. Outside, he heard a car passing by and a thud. A sickening feeling came over him.

He checked for the girls at the back door first, then the front. Across the street, he saw a rake and broom next to the leaves raked up for city leaf pick-up.

“The only thing I could think is, the girls are in the pile of leaves,” Robinson said.

He found them lying in the leaves unresponsive. He dialed 911.

Within minutes, before emergency responders arrived, Garcia-Cisneros’ brother returned to the scene. He saw Tom Robinson there, screaming.

The boy went home and told his sister she may have struck two children.

Bracken McKey, a senior deputy district attorney, told jurors that was the moment when Garcia-Cisneros’ legal duties kicked in.

Oregon’s hit-and-run statute, McKey said, required Garcia-Cisneros to go back to the scene, do what she could to assist the victims and give information to authorities.

Defense attorney Ethan Levi told the jury his client didn’t know she’d had an accident the moment it occurred. And the law doesn’t say anything, he argued, about the obligations of a driver, who only later learns of an accident.

Furthermore, Levi argued, his client was shocked and in a state of denial after she found out about the children.

“She couldn’t do anything except avoid and disbelieve,” he said.

Garcia-Cisneros testified that minutes after her brother told her and her boyfriend about the crash scene, the three teens left the house and took the SUV to her boyfriend’s house.

The mood that night was somber, she testified, and they needed a distraction. In a different car, they went to get ice cream. Afterward, they wandered around Walmart and finally returned to her house about midnight.

The next day, Garcia-Cisneros and her boyfriend ran errands in the SUV. Her boyfriend took the vehicle through a carwash to eliminate evidence.

Police linked her to the crash through a tip from her neighbor, who spotted her sobbing and examining an SUV outside her house that night. Detectives tracked her down and interviewed her at her boyfriend’s house the next day. On Oct. 22, officers arrested her and her boyfriend, 18-year-old Mario Echeverria.

Echeverria pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution last month and is serving 13 months in prison.

Garcia-Cisneros’ case played out in the courtroom starting last week, beginning with two days of pretrial motions and jury selection. The trial before jurors lasted about two and a half days.

Garcia-Cisneros’ sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 31. The judge could impose a minimum sentence of probation. McKey said Garcia-Cisneros faces a maximum of three years in prison, under state sentencing guidelines. The judge could choose to give her probation only.

-- Emily E. Smith

Photo 1 Garcia-Cisneros
Photo 2 Echeverria

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Old 01-19-2014, 02:19 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

A heartbreaking and horrific story. She will live with this for the rest of her life. That's a greater sentence then the jail time. Tragic story

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Old 01-19-2014, 02:45 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

Wait 3 years for a hit and run with two counts of manslaughter? Wow, that's light

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Old 01-19-2014, 04:02 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

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Originally Posted by icheerthebull View Post
A heartbreaking and horrific story. She will live with this for the rest of her life. That's a greater sentence then the jail time. Tragic story
had she come forward when it happened or stop (if she knew) at the time, she might have avoided jail altogether.

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Old 01-19-2014, 05:00 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

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had she come forward when it happened or stop (if she knew) at the time, she might have avoided jail altogether.
There is no might. Had she stopped no charges would have been brought. It appears to be a accident. The kids were under a pile of leaves in the road. A tragic accident.

The crime was not coming forward. She hasn't been convicted of killing the kids. The fact that someone was sent back to the scene, the fact that they tried to cover the evidence by washing the car. All contribute to the conviction. Had she come forward straight away no charges would have been filed.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:13 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

I felt bad for her and thought she shouldn't get any time for a accident, until i read she tried to cover it up. I guess fear overpowers common sense sometimes.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:21 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

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I felt bad for her and thought she shouldn't get any time for a accident, until i read she tried to cover it up. I guess fear overpowers common sense sometimes.
most times

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Old 01-20-2014, 05:51 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

I think the father should be investigated for encouraging kids to play in the street.

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:44 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

The father not only lets his kids hide in a pile of leaves in the street, but takes pictures of them doing so. I bet he has a heap of guilt over this accident. Mother always said, "Don't play in the street!" Wait..or was it "Why don't you go play in the street"?

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Old 01-20-2014, 11:12 PM
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Re: Woman Found Guilty of Hit and Run After Running Over Two Kids in Leaf Pile

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Originally Posted by BBKF View Post
The father not only lets his kids hide in a pile of leaves in the street, but takes pictures of them doing so. I bet he has a heap of guilt over this accident. Mother always said, "Don't play in the street!" Wait..or was it "Why don't you go play in the street"?
I totally get your rage. I do. But, he couldn't have imagined this outcome. He has much more of a hell ahead of him than the driver. The whole thing is tragic and awful.

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