These cases are never as simple as they first appear, but it seems like the judge/jury got it right. Article from Greensboro (NC) News-Record:
Eden woman sentenced in cyclist's death
GREENSBORO — An Eden woman who fatally struck a Summerfield cyclist late last year will serve 14 to 17 months in prison.
Grayson Warren Dawson, 48, of 702 Moir Mill Road pleaded guilty today in Guilford County Superior Court to felony hit-and-run, misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving without an operator's license. She will report to state prison Oct. 11.
The conviction stems from an incident on Oct. 24, 2009, that led to the death of David Sherman.
Sherman, 55, was riding his bike along North Church Street north of N.C. 150 when Dawson's SUV hit him head-on and killed him instantly. Dawson made a U-turn and drove off.
Highway Patrol troopers arrested her two days later when a clerk at a Rockingham County gas station noticed that Dawson's Dodge Durango had a caved-in windshield and other front-end damage and called Crime Stoppers. Dawson told the clerk she had hit a deer.
In testimony Tuesday before Judge Lindsay R. Davis Jr., doctors said Dawson had suffered from ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease, for three decades. On Oct. 20, she had a medical procedure at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
On Oct. 24, her birthday, Dawson drove for the first time since the procedure. She left her house in Rockingham County and went to Greensboro to shop and visit her daughter.
She hit Sherman on the way back. The force of the impact snapped his bike in two pieces and sent him into the SUV's windshield and roof.
Doctors testified that Dawson was taking 11 medications after the procedure. Some of those medicines are known to cause amnesia, dizziness and drowsiness.
Her attorney, Locke Clifford, said Dawson admits to falling asleep behind the wheel but didn't knowingly hit Sherman. He said she admits that she reasonably should have known she hit someone but didn't, in fact, know.
Dawson didn't know she had struck someone until authorities arrived at her door and told her about the accident days later, Clifford said.
Prosecutor Chris Parrish said Dawson knew she hit Sherman and gave herself mercy by leaving the scene of an accident and leaving him dying by the side of the road.
He said she knew that in her medical condition she should not have been behind the wheel, yet she put herself before others by deciding to go shopping and getting out of the house on her birthday.
"We find it inconceivable that she didn't see (Sherman)," Parrish said. "She knew what she did, she knew she shouldn't have been driving, and that's why she left.
"She put everyone in Guilford and Rockingham counties in danger that day."
Parrish said that because Dawson left the scene, authorities were unable to conduct tests to find out what medication was in her system that day, meaning she avoided more serious charges.
"Believe you me, we would have (brought stiffer charges) if we could prove it."
Davis heard from Ann Sherman, David Sherman's widow, at sentencing, as well as two friends.
Clifford read a multipage letter from Dawson detailing her medical condition and the grief she felt over the incident. Her husband and two doctors also took the stand for the defense.
Clifford also read aloud 10 letters from family and friends who said she was a person of great character who was well loved and respected.
The judge delayed the start of her prison term until Oct. 11 because she has more medical treatments she needs to get taken care of first.
Dawson declined comment after the hearing, as did Sherman's family.
Read more in Wednesday's News & Record and in our e-Edition at www.news-record.com/enews.