Judge fines teen who rolled car, left passengerA Stark County judge ordered a 19-year-old Dickinson man to pay $130 restitution
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
A Stark County judge ordered a 19-year-old Dickinson man to pay $130 restitution for medical bills caused by a vehicle rollover in November.
Derek Huschka was driving a vehicle which rolled near Gladstone, seriously injuring 16-year-old Bridget Schmidt. Huschka allegedly was drinking alcohol at the time of the rollover.
Authorities said Huschka did not try to get help for Schmidt, who reportedly waited in the cold, bleeding, until a friend came to take her to the hospital. Authorities said it took between 45 minutes and several hours before Schmidt received medical care.
Huschka pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in April.
Joy Baggatta, Schmidt’s mother, said she was not surprised the restitution was so low, but she is not happy with the outcome.
“This restitution hearing, to me, was a joke,” Baggatta said.
She said Huschka’s insurance provided about $52,000 to help cover medical expenses, which has covered most of the expenses so far. Huschka must pay the $130 out of pocket.
Baggatta said Schmidt must have several more medical procedures, which will cost at least $15,000. She said it is unclear how many more procedures her daughter will need or what the bill will be.
Baggatta and Schmidt wanted the restitution to pay for upcoming expenses for medical procedures, but that is not possible.
“Damages have to be determinable,” Tom Henning, Stark County State’s Attorney said after Tuesday’s hearing. “You can’t anticipate expenses. You can only get an order for damages to the extent that you’ve already incurred those expenses.”
He said the court could not wait to have a restitution hearing until Schmidt’s family was billed for all medical expenses because it’s unclear when her procedures will be done.
“The defendant has a right to finality, as does the victim,” Henning said.
A second restitution hearing in criminal court is not possible, Henning said. However, Baggatta can file a civil case against Huschka, but she isn’t sure it will help.
“It’s pretty much a waste of our time,” Baggatta said. “It’s all based on his ability to pay and he doesn’t have the ability to pay.”
Schmidt’s sister, Laura Baggatta said she felt Huschka had more rights than Schmidt in this case.
“What if we don’t have the ability to pay? Then what?” Baggatta said. “I just want this nightmare to be over with, but it’s not going to be.”
Huschka declined to comment after his hearing.
“This is a relatively good outcome for a very nasty event,” Henning said. “The extent of her (Schmidt’s) injury, the lack of cooperation of the people involved — the only way that this could have come out better is if they had a larger insurance policy.”
Schmidt said Huschka has not apologized to her or her family for the incident.