Hit and run suspect pleads guilty to lesser charge, given probation

Cassie Gelzer in court in 2011 (WCIV)

BERKELEY, S.C. (WCIV) -- A woman charged with hitting and killing a Cane Bay High School student with her car faced a judge Monday.

Cassie Gelzer, 24, is charged with the hit-and-run death of 17-year-old Ronnie Gallardo.

On March 6th, 2011, Gallardo was riding his bike near Highway 176 when officials say Gelzer hit Gallardo from behind and left the scene.{} Gallardo later died at the hospital.

"She killed a 17 year old boy," said{}Kent Clark,{}Gallardo's{}uncle and guardian.{}"You've got your bad boys but this was a good sweetheart boy. He was my nephew, but in my heart he was my son."

Initially, Gelzer was charged with leaving the scene of a crime resulting in death. But, the solicitor said in court it was dark on the evening of the accident and they could not prove that Gelzer should have known what she hit.

Gelzer told her dad she thought she hit a deer but, after examining the car and going back to the scene, realized she'd hit Gallardo.

Lawyers said Gelzer was back on the within 30 minutes after the accident.

As part of a plea bargain, Gelzer pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in minor injuries.

"I think it's wrong just to give that girl a tap on the shoulder and give her 2 years probation. That's wrong," said Clark.

The solicitor said the{}key element to this case was an ear witness who heard Gelzer's car crash into what sounded like metal. Had it not been for this testimony, the solicitor said the case would have been dismissed.

In the meantime, Clark and his family{}say they are{}looking for{}advice in getting justice for Ronnie as they{}continue to mourn the loss of their nephew.

"It's hard to get closure because it wasn't treated fairly. I don't know what it was," said Clark.

Gelzer's attorneys said Gelzer was diagnosed as bipolar and battles depression. is on medication and is very remorseful.

Gelzer was sentenced to license suspension and one year of incarceration{}suspended on{}two years probation, which means if Gelzer does not fullfill her probation she will be sentenced to serve one year in prison.