VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A suspected DUI driver accused of running into a father and three children appeared in court Monday morning.
Sandra Hofstadler, 43, pleaded "no contest" to DUI 2nd offense and reckless driving (avoiding a school bus), according to Macie Pridgen with the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney. The two charges are misdemeanors.
The charges come after police say a school bus had its lights on and stop sign out when Hofstadler drove her pickup truck around the bus and onto a front lawn at the corner of Chester Street and Paladin Drive around 7:40 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2012. A father and three young children were walking down the driveway at the time and were all hit by the pickup .
This morning, Judge Gerrit W. Benson found Hofstadler guilty of both charges and sentenced her to the maximum on each, which is 24 months total.
Pridgen says Hofstadler plans to appeal the misdemeanors to the Circuit Court.
Hofstadler's attorney, Jim Lewis told WAVY. com the charges will all be bundled together and heard in the Circuit court.
10 On Your Side was in court this morning when Judge Benson handed down the two-year sentence.
"I don't know that I've ever sentenced the full 12 months without any suspended time (on these charges, but) I found that case," Benson said.
Hofstadler waived her right to a preliminary hearing on the three felony counts of DUI maiming this morning. According to Pridgen, by waiving her right to the hearing, Hofstadler admits there is probable cause that she committed those offenses.
Hofstadler's case will go to the Grand Jury in Circuit Court, where she will face five charges once the misdemeanors are appealed.
Hofstadler did not comment, but her attorney says she is sorry, and that is evident by her pleas in court, making it possible for the family of those involved to not have to be there.
"The most important thing for us is to not put them through any more than they've already been through," said Hofstadler's attorney Jim Lewis. "We are taking as diplomatic a journey through a difficult situation as we possibly can, while ensuring that Sandra is properly and competently represented."
10 On Your Side went by the home of the victims after court. Yancy said she was glad the family did not have to go to court and that they are doing well.
In response to the defense's claim that they want to make it easier for the family Yancy said that Hofstadler "is making it easier on herself".
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