Judge calls probation sentence for teacher involved in hit-and-run ‘distasteful’

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DENVER — Over three weeks after she avoided jail time as a result of a plea agreement, Erin Jackson, the Aurora teacher who accidentally hit an East High School student with her car and fled the scene, was sentenced to five years probation and 350 hours of community service on Friday.

According to FOX31 Denver's Julie Hayden, the judge who presided over the hearing called 30-year-old Erin Jackson's sentence "distasteful."

Erin Jackson’s Chevrolet Malibu appeared to run a red light before striking Deyondrah Bridgeman as she crossed Colfax Avenue on Feb. 27, video of the accident showed. The vehicle never showed signs of swerving or stopping after barreling over the student.

According to court records, Jackson told police she didn't know she hit someone. On Friday, the judge presiding over her sentencing said he never believed her.

Jackson, 30, turned herself in two days after the crash. At the time of the wreck, she was a 5th grade teacher at AXL Academy, a charter school in Aurora.

Police said they found the car Jackson was driving not far from the scene of the hit-and-run.

At the time, Jackson was living in the area of 16th Avenue and Gaylord Street. One neighbor said he saw her walking her dog in the neighborhood after the accident.

She was originally charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident, among other charges, but pleaded guilty to attempted hit and run causing serious bodily injury, a felony.

Prosecutors said the original charge of leaving the scene of an accident would not guarantee jail time for Jackson should she be convicted. They called the plea deal an acceptable compromise because it meant Jackson would have a permanent felony conviction on her record.

Both Jackson’s and Bridgeman’s families were in court for the hearing. Neither would comment on the sentencing.

Bridgeman, 16, suffered a severe brain injury in the collision.  She has since moved to Omaha, Neb. for rehabilitation. As part of her sentencing, Jackson will be required to spend her 350 hours of community service at a treatment center that services patients with traumatic brain injuries.

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