WOODSTOCK – Visibly shaking and steadied by her attorney, 84-year-old Veramae Phillip faced the family of the 5-year-old boy she struck and killed with her vehicle.
"My heart aches for you," the white-haired Woodstock woman told the parents of Brayon Silva. "There's nothing I can say or do to make it better. I am so sorry."
Before their face-to-face, the boy's parents had a question for the woman.
"I want to ask why she left the scene," the boy's mother said as she clutched photographs of her son – smiling, running and playing soccer.
Silva, of Leland, was struck and killed on Sept. 8, 2012, in the 4600 block of Franklinville Road outside Union. Phillip kept driving.
The boy was crossing the street with his father and other sibling to get to their car. It had been dark and raining at the time.
On Thursday, she pleaded guilty to failure to give information or render aid after an accident, a Class A misdemeanor. The plea deal was accepted by McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather, who ordered Phillip to pay a $1,000 fine and complete one year of probation.
"This is a tragic, tragic situation," the judge said. "There is no greater tragedy for a parent than to lose a child. I am so sorry for your loss."
Assistant State's Attorney Michael Combs, who also is chief of the criminal division, said he agreed to reduce the felony charges against Phillip based on her age, her remorse and her now-revoked driver's license. Outside the courtroom, he also noted that she had no prior criminal history.
Phillip has told authorities she didn't realize she hit the boy.
As she left the courtroom, she said to Combs, "I had no idea."
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to $2,500 in fines or a year in the county jail.