Family Of Man Who Hit And Killed 6-Year-Old Speaks Out

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 8:45 pm
By: News On 6

Justin Piersall is the driver who hit and killed 6-year-old Jessalyn Sanders last month in Tulsa. Piersall’s family says it was an accident, and now they fear he's getting a raw deal. It's something most people have, and chances are they use it while driving. For Justin Piersall that decision ended with one girl dead and him behind bars. The News On 6’s Latoya Silmon reports his family says he doesn't belong there.

“He thinks that people are gonna see his face as they saw it on TV or in the papers and see him as a bad man,” said Piersall’s girlfriend Marie Dewberry.

Instead, family and friends say Justin Piersall is a family man.

“He's a great guy, and you know he's got a great heart,” said Piersall’s sister Janell Ipock. “I want people to know that he's not a bad person. Accidents unfortunately do happen.

It was May 29th. Justin was driving on Independence when he hit 6-year-old Jessalyn Sanders as she tried to follow her older sister across the street. Piersall told police he was reaching for his cell phone when it happened.

“He's cried pretty much non-stop since that day,” said Ipock. “He's expressed much guilt and remorse for the whole situation, because he has two kids of his own, and he could only imagine what it would be like if it was one of them.”

His loved ones say it was a mistake, and he doesn't deserve to be locked up, charged with negligent homicide, but they do admit he shouldn't have been driving under suspension.

“Obviously there was some negligence on his part, but I don't think it's all his fault because I just think her sister was there, and if her mother was around, they probably shouldn't have been around that street. Independence is pretty busy,” Ipock said.

Still like Piersall, they say their hearts go out to the Sanders family. They just want them to know that he's no monster.

“It could have been anyone driving that day, and it just happen to be him,” Dewberry said.

This is not Piersall's first time in trouble though. He's has pending weapons and drug charges in separate cases.

Piersall remains in jail Wednesday on $110,000 bond.

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