Woman who hit and killed pedestrian sees two years of probation, no jail time

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:10 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Almost exactly one year ago, 32-year-old Amber Rebel was struck by a car in the driveway of an apartment complex in Bismarck and after 12 days on life support, she died.

Bertha Harper of Bismarck, who was 85 years old at the time of the incident, was driving the car that hit Rebel.

Harper pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, but as of now, she won’t be seeing any jail time.

Rebel’s family spoke to Harper at the sentencing hearing and asked that she be held accountable for her actions.

“One thing that I have learned, is you got to face and accept your responsibilities and I don’t think you have done that. I have seen no remorse from you or nothing,” said Rebel’s father Douglas Rebel.

Harper’s attorney, Thomas Dickson, said that 53 people came forward to speak on Harper’s behalf. Harper also apologized to the Rebel family at the sentencing.

“I feel so horrible for you that you had to endure losing a child. I can’t even imagine what that must be like,” said Harper.

South Central District Judge Daniel Borgen said the legal system is a barrier to those who may have wanted to apologize sooner. He added that the court had to consider several factors in sentencing Harper.

“However, count two, there was no plan of criminal conduct to cause harm. Number seven, there’s no history of delinquent or criminal activity; there’s a long history of law-abiding life. Number eight, the defendant’s conduct was a result of circumstances that are unlikely to reoccur,” stated Judge Borgen.

Borgen added that the situation was tragic for those involved.

Judge Borgen gave Harper a concurrent deferred sentence conditioned on Harper serving two years of unsupervised probation. Under this sentence, the conviction won’t stay on her record if she meets the terms for probation.

A restitution hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Bertha Harper has surrendered her driver’s license and vehicle and will no longer be driving.

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