[Child Of Light]Milwaukee driver who fatally struck 2 girls in crosswalk gets 20 years
Three children leaving a playground were struck by a speeding car as they crossed Center Street in the crosswalk in 2019.?Two sisters died. Their cousin was badly injured. The case became the poster child of Milwaukee’s reckless driving problem.
Initial reports said the driver, Daetwan Robinson, who had beenfeatured in a Washington Post story about political activism in the city, had run a red light.?
At his sentencing Friday, it was revealed that in fact, he had a green light, and the children had been waved by another driver to cross against the light?as that?driver waited. Robinson said he pulled around the?stopped car and never saw the kids.
But he fled the scene, and tried to paint his car, before witnesses and videos led to his arrest.
It wasn’t until March that Robinson, 21, pleaded guilty to two counts of hit and run causing death, and one of hit and run causing serious bodily harm. Prosecutors asked that he get consecutive, significant prison terms on all three counts.
After an emotional afternoon of statements, and a disturbing video of the crash, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz on Friday sentenced Robinson to consecutive 10?year sentences for the two deaths, and three more concurrent years, for the injury, with credit for 609 days he’s been in jail.? He will serve 10?more years on supervision when he gets out.
She noted the unusual level of community support for Robinson, who had no criminal record but was driving without a valid license,?a good work history and a reputation for helping others.
”Sure, you have a promising future,” she told him. “But those little girls don’t. We’ll never know,” what they might have contributed to the community.
Robinson apologized to the victims’ families and said he’ll be sorry every day of his life. He tried to explain that the kids came into his view too late to avoid them.
”But it was my fault. It was not smart to leave.?I don’t want to be part of a problem like this,” he said “But I’ll own up to it.”?
Surveillance video from Oct. 24, 2019, shows Robinson’s Saturn Aura?eastbound on West Center Street at speeds one witness estimated at 60 mph, and which Robinson’s attorney said was likely 45 mph at most, still well over the 25 mph speed limit.
A’Lisa “Lisa” Z. Gee, 6,?Amea N. Gee, 4, and?their cousin, Drevyze Rayford, 10, were holding hands as they crossed?Center Street at North 22nd Street about?5:30 p.m. Robinson?pulled around cars that stopped behind the driver who had waved the children across?struck all three?children in the crosswalk. While other drivers and pedestrians rushed to help the victims, Robinson drove off to his home.
Lisa died that evening. Amea died later from her injuries. Drevyze was seriously injured.?
The girls’ mother, Destiny Foster,?broke down in court Friday. “They was babies,” she sobbed, “my babies.”
Robinson was arrested the next day. A bumper recovered at the scene fit his car, which was in the process of being cleaned and repainted in his family’s garage.?
On the day of the crash, Robinson had appeared in?a Washington Post story?on a Milwaukee group known as BLOC, or Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, that is focused on increasing voter turnout in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Robinson and two of his older brothers, who work as BLOC ambassadors, and their mother, who is also involved in BLOC, are pictured in the story.
During sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Joy Hammond conceded Robinson is “engaging, likable, very polite, grateful to family, I see flashes of the person described, but I’ve seen the other side too, concerned only about himself.”
She asked, “Would the person they’re all describing leave three children to die in the street?”
Defense attorney Travis Schwantes said other defendants who got long sentences for fatal hit and runs had aggravating factors — like a long criminal history, higher speeds, were in the midst of other crimes, or were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol — none of which applied to Robinson.
In cases where drivers struck and killed people they didn’t expect to be in the roadway, like people lying there,?he said, drivers got probation. He said a just sentence would be five years in prison, if not probation.
Contact?Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187?or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow?him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.