Family Of Young Nursing Student Looks For Accountability In Hopes Of Preventing Another Needless Death
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of 21-year-old Chico State nursing student Kristina Chesterman, who was struck on September 22, 2013, by drunk driver, Riley Hoover, who left her on the side of the road to be found by passersby and returned to his apartment to pass out drunk. Kristina Chesterman died two days later. The family hopes that by holding Hoover accountable for her death, they will effect change and save another family from having to go through a similar devastating loss. (Please review A Letter From The Family below.)
The Incident: Kristina Chesterman, a nursing student at California State University, Chico, was struck and killed by a 19-year-old drunk driver. The driver was already on felony probation and had previously been pulled over for DUI in Ohio before Kristina’s death. The driver’s background and repeat offenses is an extremely important societal issue when you consider “about 1/3 of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders,” according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who quoted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, in 2012, 186 people in Butte County were either killed or injured in alcohol-related traffic incidents. In the same year, there were nearly 1,000 deaths or injuries related to drinking and driving in Sacramento County. Riley Hoover will spend less than six years in prison for this crime.
An Amazing Person: Kristina was called to help others. In life, she was going to school to become a nurse and planned to work with Doctors Without Borders; in death, she helped five other families as an organ donor. Her assistant professor at Chico State Nursing School, Carl Pittman, said, “While Kristina’s gift of her organs saved the lives of several people, we lost the contribution she would have made to nursing; the influence she would have had on countless other lives. It is a measure of the love and compassion she exemplified that so many people have come together to carry on her name and spirit.”
A Life Still To Be Lived: While cleaning out Kristina’s apartment the family found a bucket list she had written. They quickly knew how they were going to honor their daughter; through the list. Once the list was released on Facebook, complete strangers found Kristina’s story so compelling that they decided to honor her bucket list too. The family also set up a foundation in her memory to continue Kristina’s mission of helping people and changing the world.
A Letter From The Family
On September 22, 2013, our kind and loving daughter Kristina Louise Chesterman was struck by a drunk driver named Riley Hoover while riding her bicycle home from the library at Chico State University. He left her on the side of the road to be found by passers-by. As a result of her injuries, she was pronounced brain dead two days later and her organs were donated to five others in accordance with her wishes. Since then, our family has been in a state of grief and sadness while we try to pick up the pieces of our lives and move forward. We do not want anyone else to experience this preventable and needless loss. Drunk driving continues to take the lives of our precious children and loved ones at a staggering rate. Those individuals responsible for such tragedy, including those who openly enable them, must be held accountable for their actions in order to prevent this from happening again.
Riley Hoover was driving a car owned by his father’s business and his parents, Dean and Dana Hoover of Ohio. His parents were aware that he had already been arrested, convicted and was still on felony probation for a recent drug-related offense in Ohio when he killed Kristina. We have also learned that while in Ohio he had been pulled over for a separate drinking and driving incident as well. In light of this knowledge, the Hoovers’ decision to provide their son a vehicle and to further allow him to leave the state of Ohio, and come to Chico, was irresponsible and reckless. We are further disappointed and saddened at the lack of remorse shown by Riley Hoover and his parents throughout this ordeal. When asked in Court, before the sentencing, Riley Hoover offered no apology. Riley Hoover will spend less than six years in prison and then can continue on with his life at the age of 26. His parents will be reunited with their son.
Kristina was known by all of her friends, classmates, teachers and large extended family as a kind and compassionate young woman who was always there for people when they were in need. She had many passions in life including riding horses, arranging flowers for weddings, and her love of the field of nursing. She was a beloved classmate at the Chico State University nursing school of 40 students, and would have graduated this spring to begin the career that she longed to pursue. Assistant Professor, Carl Pittman, said:
I was one of Kristina’s instructors in her second semester of nursing school. I only knew her a few weeks before her death, yet she made an indelible impression in that short time. As I stood in front of the class, one of the first things that caught my eye was her incandescent smile. She was bright, eager, and full of excitement about becoming a nurse. She sought me out to clarify topics she wondered about, engaged with her classmates, and impressed her instructors. She was killed while on her way home after studying with friends for the semester’s first exam in nursing school.
While Kristina’s gift of her organs saved the lives of several people, we lost the contribution she would have made to nursing; the influence she would have had on countless other lives. It is a measure of the love and compassion she exemplified that so many people have come together to carry on in her name and spirit: bicycle safety and awareness activities, a memorial clinic in Africa, a scholarship to help educate other nurses, a memorial trail ride and people around the world fulfilling her bucket list. We’ll never replace nor forget Kristina; we can only carry on, as she would have wanted us to, with love and compassion, in the spirit of helping others.
She planned to spend her first year as a volunteer in Africa with Doctors Without Borders to provide basic medical services to those in desperate need. She left a bucket list of things she hoped to do in her life, and thousands throughout the world are now helping to fulfill that list in honor of a life unlived. Please visit Kristina’s website for more information on our efforts in her honor.
We have filed a lawsuit against Riley Hoover, as well as his parents, Dean and Dana Hoover, for the wrongful death of our loving daughter. The purpose of the civil suit is to hold those responsible for Kristina’s death accountable for their actions in an effort to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family.
Dave and Sandra Chesterman