Posted 6:00 PM 7/5/2013 : Hit and run victim's mom on a new mission to help families nationwide
TUCSON- A local mom is now on a national mission to help hit and run victims and their families. Julie Rogier's son, 22-year-old Jacob Wyckoff, was hit and killed along Twin Lakes Drive in Catalina March 12. Deputies arrested 24-year-old Andrew Perez, saying he hit Wyckoff with his truck. On Monday, July 1, Perez pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident with injury.
Rogiers says her grieving process has not even started yet because she is too busy searching for answers. Not only in her son's case, but also similar cases from across the country.
"I miss his smile, I miss how he said 'hey mommy!'" Rogiers said. "It's a daily battle."
These days Rogiers spends most of her time at the kitchen table combing through police reports and court documents. She believes Andrew Perez intentionally ran her son down, but feels even if it was an accident, the 24year old is getting off easy.
"If a dog gets hit by a car people stop," she said. "My son laid there, and suffered, 12 hours after the incident."
We asked the Pima County Attorney's Office why Perez's charge was not more severe but we were told the prosecutor cannot comment until the case is closed. A previous statement to News 4 Tucson said, "One of the biggest hurdles in these cases is proving what a defendant knew about the nature of the damage or injury resulting from the collision. There are numerous other elements the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction in these cases."
"They just tell me that there's not enough evidence," said Rogiers.
Now she is working to change the system so that hit and run cases carry harsher, more consistent penalties.
"Instead of having one driver do six-and-a-half years, another do six months, is not one life as valuable as the next?" Rogiers said.
Pereze's sentencing is scheduled for August 19. That charge carries anything from a fine and probation, to a year-and-a-half in prison.
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