A powerful statement was delivered by the mother of a traffic fatality victim in Dawson County District Court Monday. Nineteen-year-old Hailey Boutin of Elwood was the driver of a car that ran a stop sign about 9 miles south of Cozad on September 19, 2016. Her car struck an SUV that was traveling on the highway. The passenger in the SUV, 59-year-old Mary Robertson of rural Cozad, was pronounced dead at the scene. During the sentencing hearing, Robertson’s mother Patricia Bock described how her daughter had recently retired as Sergeant of Communications with the Newcastle Wyoming Police Department and had been named Wyoming’s Public Safety Communications Center Supervisor of the Year in 2010.
Bock continued that her daughter’s youngest sister commented that Boutin will now be living for two people. Her self and Mary, and that Boutin must now become all she is capable of being. “We hope that Hailey will make it her goal to make the world around her a better and safer place. By doing so Hailey will experience her own healing from this traumatic event, the loss of a human life”.
Deputy County Attorney Matt Neher said that the accident will forever change the lives of Ms. Robertson’s family. He noted the accident investigation revealed that the sun was in Ms. Boutin’s eyes and that she was going about the speed limit when she went through the intersection. Neher said “she should have slowed down, she should have stopped, she should have made precautions and that’s not what happened”. Public Defender Ken Harbison countered that his client hadn’t committed any juvenile or criminal offenses and wasn’t drunk or using drugs “but, she did commit the crime of running a stop sign and there was a horrible loss of a life.” A court affidavit indicates that moments before the accident, there was a sent and read text messages on Boutin’s cell phone.
Boutin tearfully apologized in court saying she was “truly sorry”. She said it was completely an accident and that it affects her every day.
In addressing Boutin, Judge Jim Doyle said he was struck by the statement read in court by Robertson’s mother. That despite her grief, Bock believes there should be a focus on Boutin and what she does going forward. Judge Doyle also summarized the letters Roberston’s family members had submitted to the court. He said “they all ask that you think about living a good life and one that brings honor to your self and to others. And they also say that even though she’s not here, Ms. Robertson would probably forgive you. And that’s an important thing for you to take with you as you leave the courtroom is that…there is forgiveness.”
Judge Jim Doyle sentenced Boutin to two years probation and also ordered her to give four presentations on distracted driving to students at Cozad and Lexington schools over the next two years. She was also ordered to write a letter of apology to the family and finish her high school education. Judge Doyle also ordered 90 days in the Dawson County Jail to be served at the end of probation. The jail term could be waived upon successful completion of probation.