ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - An Adams County judge sentenced Cassandra Ross, 62, for hitting and killing a Colorado couple who devoted their lives to education. In 2016, Ross ran a red light going more than 85 mph in a 55 mph zone crashing into and killing Dan and Loan Maas.
At the request of the victims' family Ross was given a 12 year probation sentence and community service.
The couple's son, Calvin Maas, says they wanted more than a prison sentence they wanted a way to continue to help students and honor his parents work.
"They were people who worked for other people," he said. "The whole point of their day-to-day was to help other people first."
Both Dan and Loan started as teachers and spent their lives working in education. Most recently for Loan it was a job with Denver Public Schools helping underprivileged students find a way to attend college.
"I think that is where her real calling was because she really, really loved that job, helping kids," Maas said.
Maas spoke during the sentencing hearing for Ross, wanting to convey who his parents were and the kind of work they did.
"The most important thing moving forward is fill this gap that was left behind. I think that's more important," he said.
According to a release from the Adams County District Attorney's office, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kristen Baker said the family preferred that Ross do something to benefit students and honor the work of the two educators rather than serve a prison sentence.
Baker said when she met with their son, Calvin Maas, "his concern was for all the students who will not have his mother and father in their lives."
Maas asked that part of the probation require her to give back to students through a scholarship foundation they started in his parent's memory, The Dan and Loan Maas Scholarship Fund for underprivileged students.
"There's a lot out of our control and the only thing that matters is what can we do," he said. "If it comes down to her being in control of what can she do to make amends, I hope she does."
Maas says it's wasn't about compassion or even moving on, it was about moving forward
"How can I learn from this? What can I do better? And I think really that's the most important thing everyone needs to ask," he said.
A vehicular homicide conviction can carry a lengthy prison sentence. The judge in the Maas case agreed to probation in large part because of the Maas family.
Two Denver Scholarship Foundation scholars have been the recipients of the scholarship since it was established in 2017. To support the scholarship, call DSF at 303-951-4152 or visit denverscholarship.org.
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