A Long Island woman was sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison for fatally striking a cyclist while high on prescription drugs. But before the sentence was officially handed down, a sobbing Nicole Shellard had this to say about victim Kathryn Underdown, "You are my angel. I took your life, Kathryn, and you saved mine."
In 2010, Underdown, a 45-year-old hair stylist from Lake Grove, was riding her bike on a Sunday evening. Shellard, then 32, struck her in Miller Place and allegedly "tried to flee the scene and was stopped only because she crashed into another vehicle a tenth of a mile away." Underdown was pronounced dead at the scene while police found Shellard with dilated eyes, delayed response and "slow and slurred" speech. Shellard pleaded guilty last year and got a reduced sentence.
In court, Shellard said, "Kathryn, you saved me from the hellish life of addiction I was suffering. I believe you gave me my life back. Life is worth living now, as opposed to existing, as I was slowly committing suicide." Underdown's family was not impressed. Brian Underwood, a brother of the victim, told Newsday, "That was a joke. It was totally disrespectful to my family. Her death is my rehab -- it's very bizarre," and criticized the light sentence in court, "Is this what the maximum is for taking a beautiful person from the world? My sister's life is worth more than 11/2 to 41/2 years."