MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of professional basketball player Galen Young is still processing what happened in court this week after the woman accused of killing him didn’t get jail time.
His sister Tammy Young told us this is not the justice her brother deserved.
“We’ll always love him forever and ever and only God knows best. Only God knows the reasons why because I surely don’t know why,” she said.
Young’s family is hoping time heals the pain of his untimely death in June 2021.
According to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Miracle Rutherford, who was 19 at the time, was behind the wheel when she crashed into a home on Horn Lake Road owned by Young’s mother.
Crash investigators said she was driving 61 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone when she lost control of the car.
Rutherford was charged with reckless vehicular homicide, failure to exercise due care, and driving without a license and insurance.
This week Rutherford entered a guilty plea and a judge granted her diversion meaning she won’t serve any jail time if she completes a three-year probationary period.
“I don’t think he received justice in this outcome. I personally would have liked to see jail time,” Tammy Young said. “I would have never thought someone being charged with vehicular homicide-reckless would be offered diversion of probation for killing someone.”
Attorney Ravonda Griffin said unfortunately this outcome isn’t unexpected for someone without any previous convictions.
“With her being a first-time offender 20 years old and the lack of intent and how difficult it would be to prove recklessness to even be successful at trial is probably how she got to that point,” Griffin said.
Young was a Hillcrest High basketball standout and former professional athlete player turned coach. He was visiting when he was killed.
His sister said it wasn’t until hours later when the family started to clean up that his body was discovered. In court, she said she was finally able to express her hurt to Rutherford.
“I told her that the decision that she made is the reason why my brother is not here today,” she said.
“She did apologize to the family in court. She was very remorseful,” Griffin said.
According to the DA’s office, after completing probation, the diverted charge is usually dismissed from the defendant’s record if formally requested.
“My brother believed in second chances and the judge gave her a second chance,” Tammy said.
Rutherford was released from jail on her own recognizance.
Young’s family said they are currently reaching out to lawmakers to see what about getting stricter penalties for vehicular homicide.