Gaston Co. woman convicted in deadly hit and run case

(Christian Flores | WBTV)
(Christian Flores | WBTV)

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - Donna Hayes, the woman accused of a hit and run that killed 1-year-old Riley Bradley, has been convicted. The jury spent less than two hours to come to a verdict.

Hayes was convicted of one count of felony hit and run leading to serious injury or death, as well as one count of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

"Maybe we can get some closure now. It won't bring Riley back, but justice for Riley," said Rick Bradley, Riley's grandfather.

Two days before Christmas in 2015, police say Hayes ran over Bradley with her car and drove away. Riley died less than a week later.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors brought up the loud noise the collision made, as well as the fact Hayes was not distracted and watching the road at the time of the crash.

Assistant District Attorney Donald Rice said based on the evidence, Hayes must have seen Riley on the road before hitting her, and have known she hit her, before driving off.

Hayes' attorney, Larry Hoyle, said in his closing arguments Hayes had nothing to gain by committing a hit-and-run. He said she was not distracted, was not in a stolen car, and had a valid license.

Before Hayes was sentenced, Riley's family addressed Hayes and the judge.

"I could never imagine the pain I felt that day. Nothing else crossed my mind except my little sister that I adored so much. I was hoping and praying that she would be okay," said Savannah Bradley, Riley's older sister, through tears.

Hayes also addressed Riley's family.

"I said a prayer for her, and I said a prayer for her family," Hayes said.

The judge sentenced Hayes to 180 days in prison, 48 months of supervised probation upon release, and 500 hours of community service. Hayes will also have her driver's license revoked.

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