DES MOINES, Iowa — 14-year-old Ema Cardenas was killed by a hit-and-run driver when walking home from East High School this spring. The driver who hit her will not go to jail for the crime, an outcome that Cardenas’ mother finds unacceptable.
“I was in shock,” said Cardenas’ mother, Anna Campos. “I prepared myself mentally for the worst, and this was the worst.”
A judge sentenced 38-year-old Terra Flipping on Wednesday to two years probation for leaving the scene of an accident, which she pleaded guilty to in July. The charges only relate to leaving the scene, not the accident itself.
Flipping hit Cardenas on April 28 while traveling on the 1500 block of East University Avenue. Flipping pulled over in a parking lot right after the accident but did not help Cardenas before leaving the area, police said.
Campos said she has found it hard to forgive Flipping after her daughter’s death.
“There was no remorse, no sorry, no nothing,” Campos said of Flipping’s behavior at her sentencing. “I do have hate, which is honestly sad for me because I’m not a hateful person.”
WHO 13 attempted to contact Flipping by knocking and leaving a business card at her last known address. Flipping has not responded.
Campos said she is carrying on her daughter’s legacy through activism, specifically pushing for safety improvements on the road where Cardenas died and eventually starting a non-profit foundation in Cardenas’ honor.
“Ema would have wanted us to do something positive out of something that’s dark,” Campos said. “This is my new purpose in life. People say that you always have a purpose. If I want something done, if I want thing’s done, I’ll just have to speak up.”