By Katie Brace

WORCESTER (CBS) – “Her smile is just beautiful and her eyes are shining,” said Alyson Lowell, describing her favorite picture of her daughter. Gabby Lowell’s spirit is ever present in her mom’s home.

“She was the light of this family,” said Lowell.

That light was extinguished almost year ago. Gabby was walking home. She was in the crosswalk by Worcester’s Roosevelt School when she was hit by a car and killed. The driver was texting.

“At 9:08 when he hit my child and killed her was the last text that he sent to his mother which was a thumbs-up emoji,” said Lowell.

Gabby Lowell (WBZ-TV)

This week, the driver, who is now 21 years old, pleaded guilty to motor vehicular homicide by negligent operation. The judge sentenced him to probation and community service.

“He (the judge) gave him a slap on the wrist, so to me she got no justice at all,” said Lowell.

Under the law, she knew the driver, Tyler Hamilton, would not do anything more than two-and-half years in jail. She did not expect him to walk free out of the courtroom.

“He should be in jail. These laws have to change,” said Lowell.

Now, Alyson is on a mission to make texting and driving causing death a felony in the state, meaning tougher sentences. She has already set-up meetings with lawmakers.

“She died in vain,” said Lowell.

Gabby wanted to be veterinarian and better the world. Surrounded by her daughter’s pets, Alyson prepares to change the rules of the road for her only child.

“So I am going to try and do all I can to turn something that was so negative into a positive,” said Lowell.

Comments (6)
  1. Butch Goodwin says:

    This is a tragedy of no small proportion that will effect the lives of 2 families. I am not sure though that a lengthy prison sentence is what is called for. I am not sure that the way to address distracted driving is lengthy incarceration. I do not believe society benefits from jailing a 21 yo man for a terrible error that is commonly made even by legislators and jurists. I believe we can do that through technology.

  2. Stan Bowers says:

    Distracted driving needs to be reclassified as driving to endanger and carry with it the same penalties. Vehicular homicide while distracted should carry the same penalties as killing someone while DUI. Only then will people stop doing it.

  3. Bill Cripps says:

    I am sorry for your loss, and you are right there should be much tougher laws on the books not just for texting when driving,,, many other crimes involving the death of someone should be looked at and changed to harsher sentencing, if you have the right to drive then your responsible for your actions while behind the wheel. the driver needed to be sent away for at least 2 years.

  4. James Capelle says:

    Mass is only one of few states that will lower your felony vehicular homicide to a misdemeanor distracted driving and let you go free. A slap on the wrist does nothing to show the offender they were wrong.
    Drunk drivers get the best deals of all, no jail time after multiple offenses, even if there is an injury to the people in another vehicle or on the sidewalk.
    It is time to be real, as death and injuries are happening in higher frequency on Mass roadways every day.
    The other day a driver left the scene of an accident with injuries to the other vehicle, shows up the next day with a lawyer claiming he went looking for help. He went home to sober up. Anyone who leaves the accident scene either a hit and run or on foot should be given the best the law can hand out; loss of their license for a while. Some of these runners are already racking up motor vehicle charges and do not to found to have been drinking before the accident. The law is already there to stay at the scene of an accident to show your license, especially if there is an injury. The DAs claimed their caseloads are overloaded, that may be true but how many are for repeat offenders.
    The claim and wavier that one needs the vehicle to go to work should be reevaluated as It has been abused for years. If a person claims they need their license for work, then put them on a suspended jail sentence for a few of years and if they break the law involving a motor vehicle, then send them to jail to think about it. I have seen too many DUIs get the wavier and repeat their drinking and driving.
    If a person hurts another person on their second offense with a vehicle, they should enhance the laws on these people to be charged with attempted murder.

  5. Richard Obrien says:

    How screwed up are the courts in Massachusetts !!!!! This kid learned nothing. You just want to see something happen to a member of the judges family. I am sure money exchanged hands.

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