LEXINGTON, KY (WKYT) – A Lexington man who lost his leg in a hit-and-run crash a decade ago says a guilty plea from the driver is not justice.
With the help of an interpreter, Carmela Velasco-Palacios entered a conditional guilty plea in connection to the 2006 crash that left Ronald Woolums unable to walk. She was originally facing a felony charge of first degree assault, however, on Thursday she pleaded guilty to only misdemeanors.
Court documents show investigators say Velasco hit Woolums with her vehicle as he was walking along Versailles Road back in July of 2006. Charges were filed and a warrant was issued for her arrest. However, it was not until February 2016, ten years after the crash, that according to her arrest citation, Velasco flagged an officer down outside of her apartment and turned herself in to authorities.
Following that, a grand jury returned an indictment against Velasco, however, it dismissed the assault charge. That left Velasco facing misdemeanors including leaving the scene of an accident, not having insurance, and not having a license. Velasco entered the conditional guilty plea to all of those charges on Thursday morning. A judge sentenced her to a total sentence of 240 days.
Velasco’s attorney did not want to make a comment on camera, but when asked why his client turned herself in after ten years, he simply said, “remorse.”
Velasco entered a conditional guilty plea because attorneys plan to appeal the charges. Velasco’s attorney is citing an issue with statute of limitations. Judge Thornton already issued a ruling on the dispute. However, Velasco’s attorney plans to argue his point to a higher court.