Driver pleads guilty to hitting, killing 11-year-old boys

Driver pleads guilty to hitting, killing 11-year-old boys

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A woman pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless vehicular homicide after hitting and killing two young boys while they walked down the sidewalk.

According to Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, 27-year-old Sparkel Hastings pleaded guilty to hitting Joshua McDowell and Darryl Howard as she drove her Kia Sorrento on Jones Road near Raleigh-Millington Road in January 2015.

She also pleaded guilty to reckless aggravated assault and driving on a suspended license.

Investigators said she was driving in an erratic manner and her car went up onto the sidewalk, critically injuring both 11-year-old boys. Both boys were taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, where McDowell died shortly after he arrived. Howard died two days later.

McDowell's aunt, Cynthia Taylor, said the family is still heavily grieving his loss.

"It was unbelievable to know that you can see somebody one day and not see him the next day. It was unbelievable until you actually got a chance to see him lying there lifeless in the hospital," Taylor said.

A woman who was in Hasting's car was also injured.

Hastings faces three to six years in prison for reckless vehicular homicide, two to four years for reckless aggravated assault, and up to 11 months and 29 days for driving on a suspended license.

She will be sentenced March 29.

"Any choice that we make, whether good or bad, has a consequence, and she chose to drive with no license, no insurance, and speeding. She has to pay the consequence of killing these two innocent boys," Taylor said.

Taylor said through this plea, Joshua's family has found forgiveness for the woman who took his life.

"It would be unwise for us not to forgive here. We've forgiven her because, for her to plead guilty, she understands the nature of what she did. We've forgiven her and we have to move on. So, if we continue to hold a grudge, you're not going to be blessed," Taylor said.

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