ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The driver who hit and killed a bicyclist in northeast Albuquerque at the start of the year was sentenced in court Friday.
Bernalillo County Court Judge Reed Sheppard sentenced Carol Svinarich to 90 days under house arrest and ordered her to pay the maximum $300 fine for careless driving.
Svinarich says the sun was in her eyes while witnesses claimed she ran a red light.
In court Friday, the victim's friends and family were disappointed the sentence could not have been more severe.
Supporters of stricter penalties for careless driving say this is the fourth time they've seen this kind of case this year.
"He just didn't deserve this," says Sheryl Kearby.
Nine months later, Kearby is still mourning the death of her husband Scott Dwane Lane.
She says the 90-day house arrest sentence handed to Svinarich was not enough.
Svinarich pleaded no-contest to careless driving for hitting and killing Lane as he rode his bike on Jan. 10.
"I think justice was served as much as it could be served," Kearby says. "I think it should be more. I think something should be done about the law."
Even if Svinarich got the maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, Lane's wife says the sentence wouldn't be enough.
"What we want is to enhance penalty options so there is a distinction between a fender bender and a death in penalty options a judge has at his or her disposal," says Jennifer Buntz, president of the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation.
The group threw its support behind House Bill 12 in the last legislative session, which would have increased the maximum time served to one year in jail and the maximum fine from $300 to $1,000.
The bill passed the state House unanimously but died because the 30-day session ran out.
"You need to watch out for bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians," said state Rep. Rick Miera, who sponsored HB12 and he says he'll introduce it again in the next legislative session.
"I'm hoping because of the experience in the House that the Senate will move it along quicker to get it on the governor's desk for a signature," Rep. Miera says.
Lane's wife is hoping the law will actually pass this time around.
"There is not a day that goes by I don't think about [Kearby and her family] and the pain and grief I feel is overwhelming," Svinarich said in an apology in court. "That's going to be with me forever."
Lane's wife said that wasn't enough either.
"I don't buy it," Kearby says. "I agree with the parole officer about her attitude. It's too little too late."
As part of the sentence, the judge ordered Svinarich to pay a maximum $300 fine and more than $17,500 in restitution to the victim's family.
Lane's wife, Kearby, was happy about that, but she is still moving toward a civil case against Svinarich.
Svinarich was arrested on a DWI charge in August. That case is still pending.
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