CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A woman who was found guilty in a fatal hit-and-run of a Tennessee police officer has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Janet Hinds, 57, was sentenced on Monday, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. A jury convicted her in September of vehicular homicide by intoxication in the death of Nicholas Galinger.
The 38-year-old rookie officer was inspecting a manhole cover that had water flowing from it late one night in February 2019 when Hinds hit him with her car and fled.
Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don W. Poole said before handing down the sentence that he believes Hinds was sincere in her regret and that she didn’t mean to kill anyone, but she “did intentionally drink before getting into her vehicle.”
Barry Galinger teared up while speaking about his son, who he said was happy to be working in Chattanooga. When thinking about what to say to Hinds in the years since the hit-and-run, he said the most upsetting part was that she didn’t stop or immediately turn herself in after realizing what she had done.
District Attorney Neal Pinkston asked the court to impose the maximum sentence of 15 years. He said Hinds had driven under the influence on several other occasions.
Ben McGowan, Hinds’ lawyer, asked for the minimum sentence of eight years to be considered with “a life of 57-odd years of no criminal conduct” in mind.
Hinds apologized to the officer’s family — and her own — when given a chance to speak before hearing her sentence. She said she didn’t realize she hit someone that night and would have stayed at the scene if she did.
“I know this apology may be inadequate for the Galinger family,” said Hinds, who had tears in her eyes throughout the hearing. “Nothing besides God will lessen the hurt that you feel, that I feel.”