Petition Challenges Crash Charges

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A local woman has started a petition drive on the Web site urging that charges against a teenager involved in a fatal crash be dropped.

Nathan LaFave was killed in the tragedy. Maddie Shely will be charged in connection with the crash. Maddie and Carly Anne Kelly suffered critical injuries in that accident.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov says online campaign won't change his mind.

The crash happened in October at Highway 370 and 180th Street. Investigators believe Maddie Shely stopped at a stop sign and then crossed the road. She was the hit by a vehicle that had the right-of-way.

The LaFave family had asked the county attorney not to charge Maddie.

Polikov said, "A lot of people have this idea that the victim gets to decide."

He said he took the victim's input under advisement and charged Shely in juvenile court with motor vehicle homicide where the goal is about rehabilitation and not punishment.

So far, nearly 1,300 people have signed the petition urging the county attorney to drop the charges.

Deb Scoular, who organized the drive, said Maddie Shely has been punished enough.

In an email to WOWT Six News, the Council Bluffs woman elaborated, saying, “Let it be known that I don't know these families and have never met them. My motive behind taking up this cause is simple. I am a mother and kids make mistakes. This mistake will undoubtedly stay with these families forever. Isn't that punishment enough?"

The Sarpy County Attorney says the petition won't get him to change his mind about the charges.

“I'm sympathetic,” he said. It's emotional. She suffered. But there are other people; the driver of the other vehicle, who is also a victim."

The two vehicles involved were older models and had no speed monitoring equipment on board.

Maddie Shely will be arraigned in juvenile court in January.

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