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Driver who struck disabled man avoids prison
Probation, community service ordered for SR diabetic; victim's mother angry

The defendant said he hoped it meant a chance to rebuild.

The judge said the case should never have seen a courtroom in the first place.

But to the victim's mother - her already blind and disabled son in what now appears to be permanent pain - a court hearing on the accident that nearly took his life amounted to "a complete wash."

That was the reaction Wednesday as Seth Dix of Santa Rosa accepted a sentence of probation and 100 hours of community service as punishment for the accident that launched Santa Rosa resident Ken Rossi and his wheelchair from a Montgomery Drive crosswalk in January.

The deal meant a felony hit-and-run charge against Dix - and the potential four-year prison term that goes with it - was dropped.

"It's been with me all the time, and now I can try to rebuild," Dix said after the sentencing. "I'm sorry that everything happened and hopefully it will get smoother (for Rossi) as time goes by," he said.

Dix, 35, pleaded no contest to driving without a valid license and failing to yield at a crosswalk.

Rossi was not present for the hearing and was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

His mother, Carol Vellutini, left the courtroom near tears.

"He's already lost from January to August of his life," she said of her son. "His future is impaired. His body is deformed. He's looking at a possible complete hip replacement. So no, he's not going to be happy that this guy gets 2 weeks of commmunity service."

But Judge Frank Passalacqua made clear his view that prosecutors erred in filing charges at all, given Dix's near-comatose state at the time of the crash, the result of a diabetic emergency and plummeting blood sugar.

Dix's plea and sentencing were the culmination of a difficult case that began Jan. 4, when he rammed into Rossi at the intersection of Montgomery Drive and Franquette Avenue.

Rossi, 41, was thrown at least 20 feet before he crashed to the pavement, where he nearly bled to death, his hip, face and left femur crushed.

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