A Rockville man who fled the scene after his vehicle struck a Hanover County woman and left her lying in a field was sentenced Wednesday to five years behind bars.
The punishment that Hanover Circuit Judge J. Overton Harris imposed was well beyond sentencing guidelines, which called for a sentence of up to six months of incarceration.
Harris ordered Tsz Kit Zane Theodore Yung, 24, to serve five years on a felony charge of leaving an accident and not reporting it. The judge imposed a separate 12-month sentence on a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving, but he suspended that entire sentence.
The judge said the circumstances of the case justified the higher sentence.
On June 5, 2016, Yung veered off the road in the 17200 block of Dunns Chapel Road in Montpelier and struck Denise A. Gorondy, the mother of two young boys.
Photos showed the vehicle was barely drivable afterward and was parked behind Yung’s home and concealed by bushes, the judge said.
Harris also pointed to the “horrific” damage the accident inflicted on Gorondy, who lay in a field for about an hour until a cyclist spotted debris and called for help.
“You did everything but kill her,” Harris told Yung toward the end of a nearly two-hour court hearing.
Gorondy, who at the time of the incident was working at Three Oaks Equine Veterinary Services in Goochland County, told the court in halting and emotional testimony that she awoke at 5:30 a.m. that day and headed out to go running on a beautiful, sunny Sunday.
As Gorondy began speaking to the court, her right arm in a sling and resting on a pillow in her lap, she choked up as she talked about leaving her husband and children, then ages 2 and 4, to go running.
“It’s the last morning I would be whole,” Gorondy said.
Gorondy said Yung “left me there to die.” The defendant told police that he thought he had hit a deer.
Gorondy was airlifted to VCU Medical Center, where she was found to have bleeding on the brain, a lacerated liver and multiple fractures in her right leg, among many other injuries. She spent 40 days in the hospital and will have to undergo further surgeries, she said.
“To this day, my boys talk about the man who made a bad choice and hit their mother,” Gorondy said.
Ben Toderico, Gorondy’s husband, testified that he brought the couple’s two boys to the hospital and that he knew her injuries were so dire that at any moment he might have to tell the children that their mother had died.
“But Denise persevered,” Toderico said.
Still, a once “fiercely independent” woman now needs help feeding and getting dressed, Toderico said, and they have driven more than 5,500 miles for medical appointments. Toderico estimated the couple have suffered nearly $191,000 in financial damage from lost wages, out-of-pocket medical costs, child care and other expenses.
Craig Cooley, Yung’s attorney, did not offer any questions when he was given the opportunity to cross-examine Gorondy and Toderico. Instead, he wished them both well during brief remarks.
Cooley asked the judge for a more “measured” punishment. The defense attorney said his client has been working and saving, knowing that in addition to incarceration, he’ll have to pay restitution to Gorondy and her family.
“Hopefully, none of us is judged by our worst decision,” Cooley said.
Yung’s mother, Wendy Wiger, said her son has struggled with a learning disorder, dyslexia, that led to him being teased while growing up.
She also said her son, who graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 2011, always tries to help others.
“He’s very accepting of people and their flaws,” Wiger said.
Wiger said Yung was fired from his restaurant job after the crash because of the publicity and that he received a lot of hate mail on his social media accounts.
“He feels such a deep level of grief about the accident,” Wiger said, adding that “it’s hard for him to talk about it without crying.”
Under questioning from Stephen Royalty, a Hanover prosecutor, Wiger said her son told her that prior to the accident, he had been at a friend’s house playing video games and that he told her he had a couple of beers.
Royalty suggested that either because of alcohol, sleep deprivation or a combination of those factors, Yung ran over Gorondy.
The prosecutor referred to Yung as “pretty much hell on wheels,” noting that the defendant had a series of traffic offenses prior to the accident.