US driver who hurt Singaporean in hit-and-run escapes jail

PHOTO: University of Buffalo

The Singaporean student lay unconscious on the road as emergency responders scrambled to treat her in the rain.

Instead of trying to help, the driver who knocked her down drove away.

Hannah Christensen, 20, was given a conditional discharge last month for injuring Miss Renuka Ramanadhan, also 20, in a hit-and-run accident on the University at Buffalo's North Campus in New York on the evening of Nov 1 last year.

Christensen, who was also a student in the university, stopped her car but drove away after seeing emergency responders at the scene.

PHOTO: Facebook/Renuka Ramanadhan

She was caught by police about two weeks later after a tip-off about her possible involvement. She admitted to the offence and co-operated by giving a statement.

Ms Renuka, an accounting major, spent several weeks in hospital after suffering traumatic brain injury and a fractured skull and pelvis.

She is now back in school, campus newspaper Spectrum News reported.

On Wednesday last week, the New York State Supreme Court gave Christensen a conditional discharge and ordered her to complete 150 hours of community service.

Judge Christopher Burns said prison would not be appropriate as Christensen was remorseful and later tried to make amends by reaching out to Miss Renuka.

"Human nature sets in and panic sets in. It doesn't excuse it but it explains it," he said.

Lawyer Cheryl Meyers Buth said her client had been technically suspended from the university and is likely to be expelled. For leaving the scene without reporting the accident, Christensen could have been jailed for up to four years.

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.

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