DMV strips woman of license for accident that killed Regan Shetsky
SYRACUSE, N.Y. —
A woman who investigators said was behind the wheel of a vehicle involved in an accident that caused the death of a young child earlier this year has been stripped of her license.
The accident happened in the parking lot of a nursery school at Eastwood Baptist Church on January 4. 3-year-old Regan Shetsky was killed in the accident. Her father, 41-year-old Mark Shetsky, was also injured.
The family of Regan Shetsky refuses to refer to the crash as an accident, but the woman driving the vehicle was never criminally charged. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said in March said his office had reviewed all possible avenues to bring charges in the case, but said there was none. At the time, Fitzpatrick said the accident happened because the woman mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brake on her vehicle while driving through the parking lot. She was not distracted or impaired at the time, he said.
During a DMV hearing on the accident in July, the woman, a refugee from Burma, apologized to the Shetsky family through an interpreter. The DMV has since decided to revoke the woman's license. Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Leibo agreed that the woman had not acted criminally, but said she had failed to exercise "due care," according to his written findings on the case filed on September 12. His written findings were provided to us by the Shetsky family.
Below is how Leibo explains his conclusion that the woman failed to exercise "due care":
Due care, a term more often seen in civil lawsuits than in criminal cases, is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as, "just, proper, and sufficient care, so far as the circumstances demand it". It is essentially how a reasonable person would act in any given situation, looking out for the safety of others. The facts here are that just prior to the accident, Respondent entered a parking lot. This particular parking lot was known by Respondent to include a day care center, which should indicate to any reasonable person, given the time of day, that a high level of carefulness must be exercised due to the fact that small children were likely to be present in and walking through the area.
Upon consideration of the testimony of Officer Dotson and [redacted], I find that Respondent made two errors on the morning in question. First, Respondent drove her vehicle into Mark Shetsky's parked car with two pedestrians standing close by. Second, upon hitting the parked car, Respondent hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal, pushing the parked car aside before striking Mark and Regan Shetsky. Respondent failed to provide any excuse or explanation for either of these actions. I find that an individual acting with just, proper and sufficient care would not have struck Mark Shetsky's parked car on the morning of January 4, 2017. I further find that the combination of the two errors made by Respondent, both proven by a preponderance of the evidence, amounts to a failure to exercise due care to avoid striking Mark and Regan Shetsky in violation of VTL § 1146.
It was for that reason Leibo said he decided to revoke the woman's driver's license. He further stated that her license and privilege to drive would remain suspended until she files a sufficient report on the accident.
The family of Regan Shetsky issued the following statement about the ruling:
We are pleased to finally receive a decision from the DMV regarding the woman who hit and killed our daughter, Regan. Although the District Attorney’s office was unable to bring charges against her, the DMV’s decision provides a consequence for her actions. Mrs. Tun should not be driving and poses a danger to others. Now, she won’t be able to. Nothing will ever bring Regan back or make it right, but at least there’s some form of justice in her death. - Kelly and Mark Shetsky
The Shetsky family has since established "Regan's Acts of Kindness", which the family says it established "to continue to spread the smiles that she always did."