Peggy Bell addressed Licking County's Juvenile Court on Feb. 6 with both sadness and anger.

Peggy Bell addressed Licking County's Juvenile Court on Feb. 6 with both sadness and anger.

She wore a green T-shirt with an image of her 15-year-old daughter, Linzie, who was killed in a crash in June, and she wanted the driver in that crash, Jaylynn Rigio, to know he wasn't forgiven, calling him a "coward" because he wouldn't look at her while she spoke.

She told Rigio he had robbed her and her husband of being able to "buy (Linzie's) first prom dress, watch her graduate, buy her a wedding dress or ever have grandchildren because you killed the only child I was able to have."

"I am tired of hearing, 'Kids will be kids,' " Bell said. "I do not feel sorry for you. You may have to live with this for the rest of your life, but Linzie does not have a life."

Judge Robert Hoover did not abide by Bell's wishes that Rigio receive the maximum sentence -- to be locked up in an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility until the age of 21.

Instead, Hoover agreed with Rigio's probation officer, a letter submitted by one of Rigio's teachers and the psychiatrist hired to evaluate the 17-year-old Johnstown student's mental health.

All three told the judge treatment was preferable to incarceration for Rigio, who had his driver's license less than three months when he lost control of his grandmother's 2003 Mitsubishi Diamonte while driving more than 75 mph with a car full with friends headed for a summer swim.

The car flipped, hit a tree top first and split in half, instantly killing the three backseat passengers -- Bell, Michael Hoskinson, 17, and Cheyenne Spurgeon, 15 -- and severely injuring Ashton Cody, 16, the front-seat passenger.

Hoover placed Rigio with the Perry Multi-County Juvenile Facility, a secured treatment facility in New Lexington.

"No, we're not satisfied," another member of Bell's family said as they all left the courtroom yesterday.

Psychiatrist Cecil Miller, who evaluated Rigio for the court and was the only witness called during the sentencing, testified that incarceration with the Department of Youth Services would be "less than desirable" and that Rigio needs "counseling and treatment for quite a while."

Miller said although Rigio has made dramatic progress from a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to remember any of the details of the June 26 crash, "he has struggled to confront his emotions" and has been in denial and reluctant to discuss personal problems.

Neither Rigio nor his parents spoke in court. Instead, the victims' families were given a two-page, handwritten apology letter from Rigio.

"I want you all to know I am truely (sic) sorry, and I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me and my irresponsible actions," Rigio wrote. "I wish I could undo everything."

Rigio pleaded guilty in November to three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of aggravated vehicular assault.

Juvenile Court Administrator David Edelblute said the treatment program at the county-run facility typically lasts six to nine months. After Rigio is released, he will reappear before Hoover for review.

Hoover also ordered that Rigio's driver's license be suspended until he's 21 and that he perform 80 hours of community service. Hoover recommended that Rigio use at least some of that time to speak to driving-age teens about the consequences of irresponsible driving.