Victim's family reacts to former deputy's guilty plea in fatal wreck

Victim's family reacts to former deputy's guilty plea in fatal wreck
Lena Pettiet (Source: Family)
Lena Pettiet (Source: Family)

A Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office employee has pleaded guilty to Deadly Conduct.

Former deputy Emily Grubbs pleaded guilty to causing a collision in February 2016, a wreck which led to the death of Lena Pettiet, a 33-year-old nurse.

Inside the courtroom this morning, Pettiet’s mourning family found the strength to forgive.
"We didn't want [Grubbs] to spend time in prison,” says Jim Pettiet, Lena’s father. “She's too young."
While en route to assist another deputy, Grubbs failed to use caution while entering an intersection which displayed a red light, and she collided with Lena's vehicle. The wreck was believed to be caused by excessive speeding.
"We hope that other officers will take heed to this, because you don't have to drive 90-to-nothing for every call you get,” says Kim Pettiet, Lena’s mother. “Use your intelligence and get there safely."
Initially, Grubbs was indicted for Manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
"This family is very gracious; they never had the intent of putting Ms.Grubbs in prison,” says Van Zandt County District Attorney Chris Martin. “What they were really seeking was accountability."
The terms of the plea included a public apology to the Pettiet family, to which Grubbs said, "As I said in our previous meeting, I’m sorry."
Jim Pettiet says Grubbs isn’t the only one who should be feeling remorseful.
"She shouldn't have been where she was,” says Jim. “There needs to be better training, there needs to be better evaluation before somebody is out on the street."
The additional terms of the plea deal included Grubbs serving one day in the county jail, a $1,000.000 fine, and permanently surrendering her peace officer's license.
Grubbs is currently working as a dispatcher for the county.

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