KALISPELL — Patricia Berliner, the driver charged with severely injuring a child who had just gotten off a school bus near Whitefish, agreed on Thursday to a mediation sentence with the State of Montana.
Berliner, whose vehicle hit six-year old Jordana Hubble in November 2019, originally pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony criminal endangerment in April of 2020 and was released on her own recognizance.
Berliner’s attorney Alisha Rapkoch filed a joint motion to refer the case to mediation in October of 2020 after consulting with Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner.
Judge Dan Wilson approved the mediation Thursday which includes a deferred sentence of six years.
Berliner must complete 100 hours of community service, complete a distracted driving course, and support the family in ongoing bus safety legislation.
Other conditions of the mediation are confidential, but Judge Wilson says paying restitution will be addressed in another venue.
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Jordana was taken to Nexus Children’s Hospital in Houston in January of 2020 to continue her recovery. She returned home to Olney in August to continue treatment.
Her mother says Jordana's recovery is simply amazing: “It’s been really, really good, she’s still making ground, she’s still going on an upward trend, she hasn’t plateaued or anything, we kind of reach those points where we feel like, 'Oh, maybe this is kind of her level,' and she just proves us wrong again, like, 'No, I can do more than that'.”
She said Jordana is making significant progress in her ability to walk and communicate on her own.