No jail for Ore. woman who struck, killed girls in leaf pile

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by Jeff Thompson and Nina Mehlhaf, KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 9:01 AM

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The woman who killed two Forest Grove girls when she hit them with an SUV in October was sentenced to 3 years probation and 250 hours of community service in a courtroom packed with the victims' emotional friends and family Friday morning.

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, 19, was found guilty Jan. 15 on two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver. She will be released from the Washington County Jail within 48 hours and taken into federal custody on an immigration hold. Her lawyer, Courtney Carter, said Garcia-Cisneros is in "grave danger of being deported."

On Oct. 20, stepsisters Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and Abby Robinson, 11, were alone in the street, playing in a leaf pile when Garcia-Cisneros drove through it, felt a bump and kept going.

Background: Stepsisters die after hit by vehicle in Forest Grove

On Friday, when the girls' family members spoke in court, there was not a dry eye in the room.

Jane Samuels, Dieter-Eckerdt's stepmother, spoke to the court first.

Looking at Garcia-Cisneros, she said, "I know you have a good heart and conscious. Listen to those two as you go on in life."

"Cinthya, I forgive you. I do," Anna's mother and Abby's stepmother Susan Dieter-Robinson said through tears while looking straight at Garcia-Cisneros. "There are consequences to our behaviors. That's what we told our girls."

She told the court how horrible it has been to live through this tragedy in the public eye. While reading her prepared statement, Dieter-Robinson took everyone through her emotions the night of Oct. 20, 2013. She explained how it had been the perfect fall day and the girls were so happy. She wasn't home when she got the frantic call from her husband, Tom Robinson, of the terrible news.

The girls were playing in a freshly-raked leaf pile in the street when Tom Robinson briefly went inside. That's when Garcia-Cisneros, on her way home with her brother and boyfriend, drove through the leaves, not knowing the children were there.

Both girls were killed.

"I knew it was an accident," Dieter-Robinson cried. "The person who hit them didn't know it had happened."

Garcia-Cisneros testified that she heard about the deaths later and panicked. She confessed when police showed up at her door the next day.

"You made a choice not to come back and that greatly impacted how I got to say goodbye to my daughters. You were one block away, and I'm sure, scared," Dieter-Robinson said to her.

The family asked the judge for no prison time, only probation. And before he granted that wish, it was Garcia-Cisneros' turn. Through tears, she told the girls' family she wished she could hug them.

"There are many things I wish I could have done differently, and I think about this everyday," Garcia-Cisneros said. "I should have gone back. I should have thought about you guys, and I didn't. And as much as I can say I'm sorry, it won't bring them back."

More: Driver knew she hit something

Her boyfriend, 18-year-old Mario Echeverria, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for hindering prosecution after the crash. Instead of going to police, investigators said he took the SUV to a car wash to destroy evidence.

More: Passenger gets 13 mos. in crash that killed girls in leaf pile

Garcia-Cisneros had a hold pending from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She will be taken to Tacoma for a hearing before an immigration court.

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Pat Dooris and Evan Sernoffsky contributed to this report.

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