Dowagiac woman gets probation for hit-and-run

Published 5:00 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac woman who left the scene of a hit and run accident was sentenced to probation Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Tiffany Rose Hysell, 39, of Sink Road in Dowagiac, pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license causing serious injury and was sentenced to two years probation, credit for two days served and $1,978 in fines and costs. Restitution could be ordered at a later date.

The incident occurred Sept. 13, 2021 in Dowagiac. According to police reports, a motorcycle driven by Terrel Ward was traveling south on Spruce Street/M-51 approaching M-62 when a vehicle driven by Hysell also traveling south changed lanes into his lane which caused hi to swerve and crash. Hysell then left the scene of the accident.

Friday, Ward-who is currently in jail on drug and weapons charges-spoke before the sentencing. He said he was parked at the red light when he was hit. He noted that he had several serious injuries and has battled depression since then. He was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital and then airlifted to a Kalamazoo hospital.

“I was laying on the road dead,” he said. “It wasn’t an accidental side swipe. She got out, looked at me and then left … I don’t think it was an accident, she left the Speedway mad, I felt like I was a target and I don’t know why.”

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Hysell exacerbated the situation by taking off from the scene and then trying disguise the damage done to her vehicle. He asked for additional jail, saying that two days in jail sends the wrong message about the consequences of such actions.

Defense attorney Joseph Fletcher said his client panicked because she was driving with a suspended license and has great remorse for her actions. He noted that she had been on bond for 18 months since the accident without any violations. For her part, Hysell apologized and called it all “a horrible mistake.”

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman asked Hysell to think about how she would feel if someone had hit one of her daughters and then run from the scene.

“If someone hit your daughter and ran, you would want him hung from the highest tree,” he said.

“I hope you’ve learned valuable lessons,” he added. “First and foremost, it’s best to face your mistakes. When you take the coward’s way out, it always ends up worse. Now you have a felony on your record. You would never have ended up in front of me if you had gotten your license reinstated years ago.”