The third suspect in the death of beloved Clovis Unified School District educator Gavin Gladding learned her sentence in court Wednesday. Authorities say Fernanda Lopez was in the pickup truck that hit Gladding in September.
Before the sentence was handed down, there was a final plea for Lopez to avoid jail time.
“Since the event occurred, [Lopez] has been praying a lot,” said Father Adrian Kim of St. Lucy’s Church in Fowler.
But also a final plea for her to get the maximum sentence possible, particularly by Gladding’s father, mother and wife.
“California Highway Patrol issued 24 search warrants because no one was speaking,” Gavin’s father Gary Gladding said.
Lopez also took to the podium to express her grief about what happened.
“I genuinely wish I could go back, change my actions,” she said. “I’m extremely sorry for the part that I have taken in this accident.”
In the end, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Michael Idiart sentenced Lopez to serve 210 days in jail and three years probation after that. She also will have to pay nearly $7,000 in restitution to cover half of Gladding’s funeral costs.
In March, Lopez pleaded no contest to her charges. Authorities say she was in the pickup with Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla when he hit Gladding on Sept. 16. Investigators determined she tried to cover up the crime by getting the pickup fixed up.
Maravilla has since been sentenced to three years in prison. The other suspect, Moises Guerrero, has been sentenced to three years probation, for allegedly fixing up the pickup truck.
Gladding’s wife, Susan, said she still wishes Lopez well — hoping she can make some good from a tragedy.
“I know my husband would hope she learns something from this,” Susan said. “I hope that she does make something of her life that’s a positive impact.”
After sentencing, a suggestion Idiart made to Lopez was to talk to schools in the area and discuss the importance of taking responsibility in your actions.