Driver sentenced to probation, community service and $5,500 donation in baby's death

March 08, 2011|By Mona Shadia,

Editor's note: This corrects Ruby Gould's age, the spelling error and amount of the donation in the headline.

The driver responsible for a 4-month-old's death at a crosswalk was sentenced Tuesday, according to a release from the Orange County district attorney's office.

Robert Anthony Casares, 50, of Huntington Beach was given three years of informal probation, must complete 300 hours of community service as a school crossing guard and donate $5,500 to the Joyful Child Foundation.


Ruby Gould was in her stroller with her mother, Renee Gould, and two cousins, Daisy and Jacob Chuntz, crossing the street at Springdale Street and Croupier Drive on Sept. 7 when a distracted Casares failed to stop, hit a car in front of him, causing it to crash into the family.

The impact pushed Ruby out of her stroller, and she landed 70 feet away. Ruby sustained severe head injuries. Renee Gould, 31, was transported to UCI Medical Center.

Daisy Chuntz suffered a broken femur.

"Ruby was everything to us," Renee Gould said, according to the release. "She made our lives complete. After three years of trying for a baby, we were finally a family. Now our family has been ripped apart. When doctors explained to me the extent of her head and internal injuries, my heart was shattered."

Ruby and her mother were visiting family in Huntington Beach from Australia.

The family filed a $40-million claim Feb. 11 against the city — $10 million for each pedestrian at the intersection — for neglecting the crosswalk. The family said the city failed to provide proper signage, operational traffic control signals, stop signs, yield or warning signs.

Casares pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to the release.

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