Driver Sentenced in Hit-Run That Killed Young Mom

By Greg Cergol
|  Friday, Jan 4, 2013  |  Updated 6:44 PM EDT
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Driver Sentenced in Hit-Run That Killed Young Mom

Dennis Hughes, father of Erika Hughes, speaks outside the sentencing for Preston Mimms Friday

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A Long Island man has been sentenced to one and a third to four years in prison in a 2011 crash that killed a young mother.

Preston Mimms, 48, admitted last month to fatally hitting 24-year-old Erika Hughes of Shirley in his Dodge pick-up truck as she crossed Mastic Road in Mastic Beach. According to prosecutors, Mimms fled the scene and hid his vehicle to escape arrest. He was taken into custody almost nine months later, after he bragged about eluding capture, according to Erika's father, Dennis Hughes.

"You put us through hell," Hughes told Mimms at the sentencing. "You should have gone back. She made the world a better place. You don't."

Hughes begged the judge in the Riverhead court Friday to give Mimms the maximum prison term, up to seven years behind bars.

"He's going to kill somebody else," said Hughes. "This man deserves the max for what he did."

Suffolk County Judge James Hudson opted for a lesser sentence which was agreed to under terms of a plea deal with Mimms.

"To call this sentence minimal is inaccurate," said Hudson. "It is for the legislature, not the court, to craft a harsher punishment and I would welcome that."

But Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said the judge could have handed down a stiffer sentence.

"We've seen a surge of people who are leaving the scene of a crime because it's always to their benefit," said Spota.

"I think the laws should be changed," he said. "There should be a harsher sentence. We have to have something to discourage people from killing people and then leaving."

Hughes called Mimms' sentence "a travesty," saying, "We need to change the laws."

Hughes, 24, left behind a daughter, Gabrielle, 2, who was carried from the court by relatives before the sentencing.

Mimms apologized to the Hughes family, saying, "I take responsibility for what happened. I am truly sorry."
 

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