Deadly hit and run sentencing; Wife gets closure

Eric and Kelly Leoni on vacation together at Yosimite National Park. Kelly's husband was killed last year in a hit and run with a big rig.

A Central Valley woman says she now has a little bit of closure after leaving a Fresno courtroom Friday afternoon. Her husband, 48-year-old Eric Leoni was killed last year in a hit and run with a big rig. The man who killed him is 21-year-old French Citizen Nicolas Appert, he was sentenced to 12 years and four months in prison.

Hours after the sentencing, Kelly Leoni returned to where the accident happened. She watched traffic at the busy intersection of Mt. Whitney near Riverdale in Fresno. Leoni says she often drives by where her husband's life came to a tragic ending.

"I drive through there and I'm like I love you, baby," said Leoni.

Eric was killed while riding his motorcycle on the way to work. Appert was high on drugs when he hit and killed him with a stolen big rig last April. In the sentencing, Appert was charged with various crimes such as gross vehicular manslaughter, hit and run and forged a license.

Despite the judges ruling, Kelly felt Appert deserved more to that punishment.

"To me, he was a murderer because he saw the bike sitting at the stop light and he didn't slow down," said Leoni.

Following the trial, Leoni admits she's not ready to forgive but now it's about taking it one step at a time.

"One day I am going to have to explain to her [my granddaugher], why papa is not here. That will be a tough day," said Leoni.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off