A young man accused of hitting and killing a Chico State nursing student while driving under the influence entered a no contest plea Wednesday.
20-year-old Riley Hoover entered a no contest plea to a count of DUI causing injury with an enhancement of causing great bodily injury and a count of felony hit and run. The plea was entered in exchange for the prosecution agreeing to dismiss counts of transporting marijuana for sale, manufacturing concentrated cannabis and money laundering.
The defense offered the deal to the prosecution last week to drop the drug charges in exchange for Hoover admitting to leaving the scene. The Chesterman family was informed of that offer last Friday.
“Dave suspected it was some kind of plea offer that the defense was putting out there,” said Sandra Chesterman, Kristina’s mother.
At first they were hesitant but as the district attorney’s office explained Hoover will recieve the max punishment of seven years in state prison.
“There needs to be stronger sentences,” said David Chesterman, Kristina’s father. “It's really shameful that we let people off so easy when it's an avoidable crime.”
The silver lining the Chesterman’s said is now they do not have to hear or see the gruesome details about their daughter's death during a trial, and they can focus on how she has saved dozens of people's live by being an organ donor.
“I have hundreds and hundreds of messages that I haven't been able to respond to,” said Sandra.
“You know we have to spend the rest of our lives without her and the rest of her family has to deal with that. You know he can go to prison and then go on with his life,” said David.
Hoover will be required to serve at least 85 percent of the seven-year sentence.
Hoover was accused of hitting and killing Kristina Chesterman while he had a .33 blood alcohol level behind the wheel of an SUV in September of 2013.
The Chestermans will have their day in court on September 5 when Hoover will be sentenced.