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Mom of Montana tow truck driver killed on road frustrated by 'low penalties'

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Posted at 9:33 AM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 11:33:29-05

Family members of a truck driver killed on I-90 near Columbus more than a year ago are now calling for justice.

After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor in a crash that killed Casie Allen and Nick Visser, motorist Carlyn Jessop was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence and a $1,000 fine on Monday.

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It's a day that will forever haunt Peggy Mathiason. Her son, Visser, was working with a fellow Hanser's tow truck driver, Allen, to clear a crash near Columbus, when all of a sudden, the two were hit and killed by a driver from Utah.

"I don't hate him," Mathiason said about Jessop. "I feel kind of sorry for him. He's got a big burden. He's going to have the tape about (the) accident in his mind for the rest of his life. He saw things no one else saw."

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Now, Mathiason isn't just coping with the loss of her son. She says she's trying to make sense of what happened inside a Columbus courtroom on Monday.

"To be a misdemeanor charge, and with such low penalties, two men's lives were lost," she said. "And it just doesn't equate what happened."

Mathiason says she wanted a more serious charge.

According to court records, Jessop had been on the road for 24 hours without sleep.

"We felt that reckless driving could've been assigned to this because he had been driving so long, you know," Mathiason said.

Last fall, first responders came out to the Rims and later drove through Billings in honor of Visser and Allen.

Mathiason wants to raise awareness about the importance of driving safely around tow truck drivers and other first responders.

"Anybody with lights on top of their vehicles, signage, slow down and then move over," she said. "Make sure that those people are going home to their families at night, just like we all want to do. They want to go home to their families too."