18-year-old sentenced in hit-and-runPublished 9:11am Tuesday, April 6, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Told he should be serving jail time, 18-year-old Bradley Osban was sentenced Monday on charges of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.
The charges follow Osban’s conviction that on the morning of Jan. 5, his vehicle struck 69-year-old Sheryl Vance as she was making her way through a crosswalk in Berrien Springs.
Vance’s injuries were extensive. She was comatose and is currently hospitalized in Grand Rapids, and according to remarks made by her family, still suffering from those injuries.
Osban was in the courtroom Monday and heard a victim’s statement from Vance’s son-in-law, Robert Vaughn, who read aloud letters from Vance’s children and husband.
“My mom was one of the most beautiful people you’ve ever met,” Vaughn read from a letter written by his wife, Vance’s daughter Kelly.
“Every day my mom gets fed from a feeding tube,” the letter went on.
Though Vance’s daughter said she wished no harm on the Niles High School student, she said, “I would like you to feel at least for a day the hell you put my mother through.”
According to previous reports and statements, Osban “panicked” after he struck Vance and didn’t stop.
In the course of the day he went to his sister’s boyfriend’s house, to school and to work.
“The age-old saying is it’s not a crime until you get caught,” Vaughn said. “He ran away and then to compound matters, he lied.”
Osban reportedly told his parents dents on the vehicle and cracks in the windshield were the result of hitting a deer.
“You equated my mother with a four-legged animal,” Vaughn said.
Remarking on the defense’s stance that Osban turned himself, Vaughn called that matter into question.
“You didn’t get caught because you turned yourself in,” he said. Vaughn claimed news reports of the incident played a part in Osban admitting to what he had done. A surveillance tape reportedly caught the incident and was later played via a local news station.
“Only when you didn’t have the opportunity to run” he came forward, Vaughn told Osban.
Also citing police reports, Vaughn told the defendant, “you said ‘the lady walked out in front of me,’ if that’s not bad enough, you said, ‘she didn’t see me.’”
Also read during the sentencing, a letter written by Vance’s husband Edwin, who was present but declined to speak, addressed to the court.
In each statement, a wish was made clear that Osban be allowed to finish high school and the family suggested he be ordered to perform community service having something to do with either the brain damaged or elderly.
Edwin Vance’s letter was remarkably forgiving and stated that though he believed Osban is in need of discipline, he felt his “young age contributed to his poor judgement.”
Osban turned to face the Vances and apologized.
“I know I made a bad decision,” Osban said. “I feel horrible about it. I’m sorry.”
Edwin Vance told the young man he was forgiven.
The letter was apparently so affecting; Schofield informed Osban that without it, he would have been facing jail time as a sentence.
“You committed a serious crime with serious consequences to the victims of the crime,” Schofield said. “You deserve to be in jail.
“That’s what I was inclined to do,” he continued. “And prepared to do until late last week I had been given the benefit of Mr. Vance’s letter.”
Osban wiped at his eyes as the court addressed him.
He was then sentenced to 30 months probation and 300 hours of community service with either the elderly or disabled and is not permitted to drive during the course of his probation.
Restitution for what Vaughn said was “literally millions” in medical bills was not ordered as those bills were being covered by insurance, the family said.
It was the family, Schofield said that persuaded him to that Osban should avoid incarceration.
“Otherwise,” he said. “You would be going to jail.”