Missoula father demands justice for his teen son’s death

MISSOULA COUNTY

Faith Cronin By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
POSTED: 7:25 PM Jun 29 2013   UPDATED: 7:26 PM Jun 29 2013
Missoula father demands justice for his teen son’s death
MISSOULA, Mont. -

We have new information about a Missoula teen that was struck and killed by a car while walking down a sidewalk in early April. 

The boy's father says he wants answers about why the driver of that vehicle didn't get a harder sentence.

NBC Montana told you how 18-year-old high school senior Chance Geery died on Mullan Road on April 1 after being struck by a car while walking down the sidewalk with his girlfriend.

University of Montana professor Yoon He Cho later pleaded guilty to hitting Geery and was charged with a misdemeanor -- Cho was sentenced to 30-days house arrest with no restrictions. 

But many people weren't satisfied with the sentence and now Chance’s father, Todd Geery, is speaking out. 

“Our son is dead and she wasn't held accountable so there's no justice,” said Geery.   

Geery tells NBC Montana he wants an investigation launched into why U of M professor Yoon He Cho was only given a misdemeanor charge for killing his son.

“We know she didn't do it on purpose but at the same time she's not being held accountable and the rest of us, I believe, would have been, he said. 

That's why he's starting a petition to have County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg’s office, City Attorney Gary Hendricks and City Judge Jenks investigated.

“Van Valkenburg and all of the other officials sitting in the room that day looked at me and said our hands are tied,” said Geery. 

Geery tells us he feels if the people who were supposed to bring his son justice couldn't because their hands were tied, than he wants to know why.

“If I'm supporting this woman coming to our country than I want to know how I tied my legal systems hands,” he said.   

He says it's hard for him to swallow that Cho never spent a day in jail.  Geery tells us she served 30 days house arrest, with no restrictions.

“It feels like it was mishandled the way it was and then to find out two weeks ago that she's taken off back to South Korea and she hasn't been held accountable,” said Geery.  “There's documents she was supposed to sign that she never even signed, she just up and left.”

Geery tells NBC Montana losing his oldest son Chance has been devastating to his family and Chance's longtime girlfriend Gabbie.

“She's having a hard time,” said Geery.  “Her whole life's gone because he put her whole entire life into him.”

Geery says he feels like the justice system failed him and his family, and especially Chance.

“They're supposed to be prosecutors and prosecutors put people in jail,” he said.  “And they were definitely working with her and her attorney to ease her through this situation.”

That's why Geery says he's not giving up until his questions are answered and his son gets justice.

Click here to see/sign the petition.