Local News

No Jail Time Handed Down In Fatal Hit and Run

By Jeff Neumeyer

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) — No jail time for a Fort Wayne woman who struck and killed a pedestrian last April while she was driving drunk.

A sentencing hearing held Friday forced the judge to try and find balance in a tragic accident.

Anissa Northrup pleaded guilty to driving drunk and to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, but the evidence suggests 26-year old Nate Gatchell may have contributed to the awful outcome as well, and that fact seems to have spared Northrup a stint behind bars.

The 34-year old Northrup got four years, but all the jail time was suspended.
Last April 15th, while she was driving down Broadway at 2 a.m., the 26-year old Gatchell walked in front of the vehicle, and was struck and killed.

Northrup was in trouble because her blood alcohol level was two and a half times the legal limit, but her biggest blunder has to do with the fact she never stopped to see what happened.

She was eventually tied to the death of Gatchell.

Her lawyer says the judge got it right.

” The investigative team came to the conclusion that although Ms.Northrup had been drinking, she was driving her vehicle, she was not operating that vehicle in a manner that caused, or was the ultimate cause, of the death of the victim,” said defense attorney Quinton Ellis.

” The punishment is her remembering what happened for the rest of her life. That’s more than a ‘C’ felony can ever give to her. But I think it’s fair and I think everything will settle down now,” said Matthew Smith, Gatchell’s cousin.

Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck cited Northrup’s good employment history, her clean criminal record, and the fact she’s a single mom with two young children, as factors supporting no jail time.

There was also discussion in court, suggesting Gatchell was a young man of strong character. But for him, there will be no second chances.

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