Erin Jackson, the thirty-year-old Aurora teacher arrested for a hit-and-run that occurred outside East High School in late February and seriously injured a student, has pleaded guilty to attempting to leave the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury -- a lesser charge than the one she originally faced. As part of the plea agreement, Jackson won't face any jail time. Instead, she'll be required to complete 350 hours of community service, serve an as-yet-undetermined amount of time on probation and pay restitution to the teenage victim.
The length of Jackson's probation and the amount of restitution she'll have to pay to Deyondrah Bridgeman will be determined at Jackson's sentencing hearing on August 30, says Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office.
The hit-and-run occurred on the morning of February 27. Bridgeman, then sixteen, was about halfway across East Colfax Avenue on her way to class at East High when a gray sedan blew through a red light and struck her so hard that a witness said she flew through the air. The driver didn't slow down. Instead, a video captured by a nearby HALO camera shows the sedan driving away as Bridgeman lay bleeding in the street with a head injury.
At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, Jackson walked into a police station and told the police that she had been behind the wheel.
Today, Bridgeman is reportedly recovering at an out-of-state rehabilitation center that specializes in treating juveniles. Kimbrough says it was important to Bridgeman's family that Jackson be charged with a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor, as part of the plea deal. "The family was more interested in holding her accountable with a felony conviction that would stay on her record," Kimbrough says. "A felony conviction for her will have some other implications," including possibly impacting her teaching career.
As we reported in May, the city and state planned to make changes to the intersection at Colfax and Elizabeth Street where Bridgeman was hit. Those changes include installing a new traffic signal with two red-yellow-and-green stoplights hanging over the street instead of just one, as well as a new countdown pedestrian walk signal.
Continue to read the DA's press release about Jackson's plea.
NEWS RELEASE August 5, 2013
GUILTY PLEA IN HIT/RUN CRASH
A 30-year old woman charged in a hit/run crash that occurred near East High School has pleaded guilty today in Denver District Court.
Erin Jackson (dob: 11-01-82) pleaded guilty to an added count of attempted leaving the scene of an accident causing in serious bodily injury (F5). In exchange for the guilty plea, the original charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury (F4) was dismissed.
In February, Jackson was driving eastbound on Colfax Avenue at around 7 a.m. when she hit a teenaged girl who was walking with the signal in the crosswalk at Colfax and Elizabeth Street. The 16-year-old victim was seriously hurt and continues to be treated for her injuries at an out of state rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for juveniles.
Jackson faces an undetermined sentence to probation, community service and restitution when she is sentenced at 8:30 a.m. on August 30, 2013 in Denver District Courtroom 5H.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Derrick Fransua arrested in street-racing hit and run that killed Gerry Julien, fifteen."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.