Kristina's Mom: Riley Hoover, I want to know if you are sorry

Sep 6, 2014 2:38 PM by Cecile Juliette

"I just got a dog in the house and everything started looking up and this {expletive} happened," Butte County prosecutor Jennifer Bennett read from a jailhouse transcript, describing a conversation between Riley Hoover and his sister, recorded five days after Hoover was arrested for running into Kristina Chesterman in his GMC Envoy as she bicycled home from the library. "We're about to start harvesting...this is the worst time to get locked is about to start coming in from harvest, and I'm stuck here."

Bennett was the first person to address the court during Hoover's sentencing Friday. She chronicled the vast difference between Hoover and Chesterman. She described Hoover as a drug dealer who was already on probation in his home state of Ohio, coming to California to illegally grow and sell marijuana. Chesteman, 21, was a Chico State nursing student who wanted to work for Doctors Without Borders, and had plans to bring medicine to rural areas in third world countries. Hoover ran into Chesterman as she pedaled over a bridge on the evening of Sunday, September 22, 2013. Hoover was described as being so intoxicated that he could barely stand up as he was arrested at his apartment. He drove home after hitting Kristina, leaving her to bleed in the street.

A crowd of Chesterman supporters, all wearing pink, quietly wept as Kristina's mom Sandra Chesterman gave her victim impact statement. She stood in front of her daughter's ashes, kept in a bejeweled purple urn. She asked Hoover to look at her as she spoke. "Riley Hoover, the first thing I want to ask...I want to know if you are sorry." Hoover replied that he was. She pointed at the urn. "These are Kristina's ashes. This is all that we physically have left of our precious took my baby, my first born." She then noted that Hoover's parents were not in the courtroom. She said, "This is to your parents. I wonder how they can sit with no apology to our family. No sadness in their failed as parents. I hope you ask yourself ‘where did we go horribly wrong?' Because you did. You allowed a known drug felon while on felony probation to take your keys, your car, your money, to leave the sent him on his way to be somebody else's problem, and that somebody else happened to be Kristina and our family."

Chesterman's brothers also addressed the court. One recalled an incident in Texas, when a man killed a DUI driver who hit and killed his two sons. He said "The father ran out of the house, got his gun. Killed the driver. Now that is hesitation...I wish that was the case...I wouldn't have hesitated either."

Hoover was sentenced to 7 years in state prison, after pleading No Contest to two felonies, DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury, and Hit and Run. According to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, Hoover must serve 85% of his sentence. He gets credit for time served, and will be on probation for three years once released. He must also receive drug and alcohol counseling. Hoover was also ordered to pay the Chestermans more than $366,000 restitution.

Before being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, Butte County Superior Court Judge James Reilley asked Hoover if he'd like to give a statement, and he declined.

In a short press conference outside the courthourse after the sentencing, Dave Chesterman said he was "shocked" Hoover didn't use the opportunity to apologize to his family, and to Kristina. Sandra Chesterman nodded, and added, "I was a little caught off guard that he didn't offer up an apology after. He did a couple of times, after my statement....the only one who really knows {if he's sorry} or not is him."


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