Suspect in fatal hit & run released from jail

By Nikki Gaskins

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) - The suspect accused of killing a Cane Bay High student is now a free woman. On Wednesday, the South Carolina Highway Patrol arrested Cassie Gelzer, 22, for the hit and run death of Ronny Gallardo, 17.

Hours later, during bond court at the Berkeley County detention center, Judge James Pope released Gelzer on her own personal recognizance. This means she was able to walk out of jail without paying a dime.

"I'm heartbroken by that decision," stated Amy Clark, the aunt of Ronny Gallardo.

In court, Amy sat just a few feet away from the woman accused of taking her nephew's life.

"Life was snatched away by someone who didn't even have the common courtesy to stop when she hit him," Amy said.

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.

"I wanted him to live long enough to be a grown man and to marry and to have children," Amy said.

"She's going to be right out of jail tonight and tomorrow driving again and that's wrong!" stated Kent Clark, Gallardo's uncle.

Kent sat in court Wednesday surprised by the judge's decision.

"I was shocked. I mean, I thought he was going to put a bond on her, but a PR bond for killing somebody? Berkeley County is not right," Kent said.

For Kent, sitting so close to his nephew's accused killer was far from easy.

"I felt like going over there and grabbing her and just shaking her," Kent said. "We didn't get no justice in there--not one bit."

Gallardo's family had a simple message for Gelzer.

"I hope you sleep good at night, young lady, because I surely don't. I don't sleep good at all. I miss my boy," Amy said.

If Gelzer if convicted of the crime, she could face up to 25 years in prison.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for June 17th.