Rhonda Addison is a mother of four children who lives in Gulfport. The para-legal describes herself as a Mom who is both sad and angry. That's because on April the tenth of this year, Rhonda's daughter Devin was struck and killed on a residential street just two blocks from her home.
The speed limit on Dixie Avenue is 25 miles per hour, police reports indicate the driver was going between 40 and 45 when he hit Devin. Rhonda could not believe it when she heard what had happened to her little girl.
Rhonda says, "When it initially happened, I did not think I could proceed, my kids are my life and I have four children."
After getting over her initial shock, Rhonda assumed the driver would be arrested and charged with a felony, but she was wrong. He faced charges of speeding, driving with a suspended license, and having no insurance. Under Mississippi law, those are all misdemeanors. The driver paid his fines, and went on with his life. Rhonda was shocked.
She says she told the District Attorney's Office, " I am like, he has killed someone, in the process you are telling me there is nothing that can be done?"
Eyewitnesses, including Devin's ten year old brother, say she had run out into the street to grab her puppy, and waved to the driver to stop. He did not, and kept going even after striking the little girl. However, he did come back before police arrived, therefore it was not considered a hit and run.
Rhonda says if the driver had been going the speed limit, her little girl might still be alive. Even though the law says what happened is only a misdemeanor, Rhonda Addison maintains that until she takes her last breath, she will work to see that justice is done.
"I feel if I sit back and I let this just go undone, then my daughter's death is basically in vain," says Rhonda.
She has asked her state representative to look into changing the law, so that what happened to her daughter, will not happen again.