Man sentenced to 6 months in jail for crash that killed 16-year-old boy in Long Beach

This comes after the family has been speaking out against the sentencing, saying "nothing was done in the interest of justice."

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Man sentenced to 6 months for Long Beach crash that killed 16-year-old
A man who fatally struck a 16-year-old boy in Long Beach was sentenced Friday to six months in county jail, and the boy's family is speaking out against the sentencing.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A man who fatally struck a 16-year-old boy in Long Beach was sentenced Friday to six months in county jail, and the boy's family is speaking out against the sentencing.

Kevin Chris Dahl, 35, pleaded no contest last month to a felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in connection with the 2021 crash that killed Millikan High School senior Aiden Tai Gossage. He was in the crosswalk at Los Coyotes Diagonal when Dahl sped through and hit him.

In addition to six months in jail, a judge also ordered Dahl to perform 30 days of community labor, two years' probation and a driver's safety course, despite opposition from the victim's parents to the plea deal.

"Nothing is done in the interest of justice," said the teen's mother, Lily Gossage. "We're not restored as victims, and when I say victims, it's not me and my husband and my family ... it's the people. The people are the victims."

During last month's hearing, Aiden's family read their victim impact statements, telling the judge how angry they felt with the sentencing. After court on Friday, those feelings were the same.

"I miss my grandson very much. I just want the U.S. system to be fair for us so we can feel easy, because I lost my grandson's life like I lost my life," said the boy's grandmother Isabel Le.

The judge -- who said what happened was "an absolute tragedy'' that he will never forget -- said he doesn't have control over when Dahl will be released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. But he noted that the probationary term "will be hanging over the defendant's head'' and that it is "imperative that the probation is successfully completed.''

The judge added that Dahl could face a sentence ranging from two to six years in state prison if he violates probation.

Dahl, who received credit for five days already served, was led away in handcuffs at the end of the hearing.

"With any case, I don't know if you ever know that it was the right justice, or if it's going to fix anything," said the teen's father, Gregory Gossage. "There's a sense of hopelessness. This is a case that can't be fixed. If it was a theft or burglary, robbery, no one died, you can fix that eventually. You can't bring the dead back."

The defendant can request that the felony count be reduced to a misdemeanor after a year if he completes all of the terms of his sentence, according to the prosecutor.

An online petition that was started late last month by the victim's mother and signed by more than 3,000 people called for a longer sentence and urged the judge to "reject the plea deal.''

"I didn't realize how upset they were with this type of crime, but the fact that we were able to get over 3,000 (signatures) in less than two weeks, two-and-a-half weeks, speaks to the fact that the community cannot tolerate another death like this,'' Lily Gossage said. "This was not a jaywalker. It was a child walking legally in the street.''

The "Justice for Aiden Tai Gossage'' petition notes that surveillance video from a nearby resident's house recorded the teen's death and "shows that the headlights from Mr. Dahl's vehicle fully illuminated Aiden's entire body before Mr. Dahl entered the intersection.''

"If Mr. Dahl had been traveling at the speed limit of 40 mph, he would have had ample time to stop or steer toward the left-hand lane to avoid hitting Aiden,'' according to the petition. "If Mr. Dahl chose to travel at the posted speed limit (40 mph) and brake his vehicle into a locked-wheel skid just before entering the intersection, he would have skidded only 40 feet, which is less than the length of the intersection. Aiden would not have been harmed. However, at the speed Mr. Dahl was driving, he skidded 130 feet.''

The boy would have turned 17 just under three weeks after the crash, according to his

father, Greg.

"If I could have my son back, I'd forget all about this,'' he said, calling him his hero.''

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.