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Published: Thursday, 9/23/2010

Driver enters plea, faces no jail time in death of Sylvania teen


Cynthia Anderson, 66, pleaded no contest to the charge for the Jan. 21 death of Morgan Duris. As part of the plea agreement, Anderson will be sentenced to community control and not face jail time when she is sentenced Oct. 1 by Judge Frederick McDonald.

Anderson, who was on her way to work at the time of the accident, struck the Northview High School freshman shortly after 7 a.m. At the time, the 15-year-old was crossing Erie Street near Apple Meadow Drive in front of her house to board the bus for school, Assistant County Prosecutor Jevne Meader said.

The teenager, who was thrown about 120 feet as a result of the impact, was pronounced dead at Flower Hospital.

Mr. Meader said that Anderson acknowledged that she was trying to pass the oncoming school bus before she was obligated to stop for its flashing red lights. She also said in statements to police that she didn't see the teenager crossing the street in front of her.

Young Morgan's parents were in the courtroom but declined to comment after the plea. Mr. Meader said that the family and investigating officers were in agreement with the plea, which called for no time in prison.

Anderson's attorney Sheldon Wittenberg declined to comment.

Mr. Meader noted that Anderson entered a plea to the charge for which she was indicted. He added that for this specific defendant and under the circumstances, he believed that community control was an appropriate sentence.

"Probably no punishment under the law will be worse than what she is already going through," he said.

Mr. Meader added that by avoiding a trial, at least 10 students who were on the bus that day can be spared from having to testify in court.

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