Los Angeles News

Elderly driver sentenced in death of USC student

Thursday, March 01, 2012

An elderly driver who killed a USC student and a pedestrian in an accident 14 months ago was sentenced to house arrest and community service Thursday.

82-year-old Lillian Paxson pleaded no contest and apologized for the first time to the family of one of the victims, Bahar Yaghobian.

"I know there's nothing I or anyone else can do to take care away this pain from you," Paxson said.

For the Yaghoubian family, Paxson's apology was too little, too late. They appeared resentful that she didn't reach out to them sooner.

"You were guilty that you killed someone - two people - just saying sorry won't be used against you, that's just a human way of doing it," said Yaghoubian's sister, Shadi.

25-year-old Yaghobian was a USC graduate student, who was studying to be a doctor of pharmacology. She died in the Sunday morning accident along with pedestrian Gustavo Gomez Pablo.

Paxson told police she lost control of the car when she accidentally stepped on the gas instead of the brakes.

Judge Mark Zuckman's sentence also made matters worse for the family. He revoked Paxson's license for three years and gave her 90 days of house arrest and 90 hours of community service instead of the 450 days of house arrest and 500 hours of community services requested by the prosecution.

"What occurred here is so grave, so horrendous or horrific, it's hard to fashion a punishment, particularly where we have an individual who did not intend to hurt anyone," Zuckman said.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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accident, court case, usc, los angeles news, jovana lara
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