- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (AP) - A woman who was driving with a suspended license when she struck and killed a teenage boy who was trying to cross a highway has tentatively been spared a prison sentence, a decision that infuriated the victim’s family.

A judge recently sentenced Susan Hyland to drug treatment and five years’ of probation. The 41-year-old Burlington County woman will be sent to a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility when space opens in one, and she could face up to 20 years in prison if she violates her probation.

Hyland had pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license and fleeing the scene of a fatal accident. The charges stemmed from a March 2016 crash that occurred on Route 130 in Pennsauken.

Sixteen-year-old Quason Turner was walking home from a friend’s house when he was hit.

Hyland’s then-19-year-old niece, who was a passenger in the car, called 911 to report the crash shortly after it occurred, but then hung up. But authorities were still able to track the call’s location and eventually found Hyland a few hours later. They say Hyland, with her windshield smashed and a front bumper left on the southbound highway, drove to a Camden home and discussed torching her car and trying to flee before police arrived the next morning.

More than a dozen of Turner’s relatives spoke at the sentencing and urged the judge to give Hyland a prison term. They cited her five prior criminal convictions and a string of municipal court charges and license suspensions.

Prosecutors said Hyland was not charged with vehicular homicide because there was a five-hour gap before she was arrested, meaning investigators couldn’t prove she was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the crash occurred.

Hyland’s public defender said the sentence would give Hyland the opportunity to turn her life around. He said his client had used crack cocaine daily for 13 years and regularly consumed alcohol, PCP, prescription painkillers and marijuana.

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