Sandra Walker was left to raise two children on her own after her husband Glen was killed by an out-of-control driver. When it came time for the driver to face justice, the widow offered a heart-breaking gesture of forgiveness.
Tamara Matthews was behind the wheel of a minivan that sped out of control and crossed the center line in 2011, striking the Walker’s family car. Glen Walker was killed, along with Matthews’ own 16-year-old son.
Police charged Tamara Matthews in the fatal crash, and on Thursday she was in court to plead guilty to the crime.
But she will not face any time in jail, thanks to a request that came from Sandra Walker herself. The widow asked prosecutors not to send Matthews to jail, saying she didn’t want the mom to be taken away from her children after already losing a son.
“Ms. Matthews and I have a lot more in common than is showing on the surface. But the one thing that is obvious is that we both suffered great loss,” Walker told the court to gasps from those in attendance.
The widow then did something even more incredible. After the judge delivered the sentence, Sandra Walker walked up to Tamara Matthews and offered a hug.
Afterward, the widow said she believes Matthews is just as much a victim of the terrible circumstances.
“I know she is going through as much pain as I am feeling. I wanted her to know that I forgive her for what she did,” Walker told WSB-TV.
Though she said she doesn’t blame Matthews for the crash, Walker admitted it has been difficult to move on from the death of her husband.
“He wasn’t just my husband; this isn’t just about me. Others are mourning his loss as well: his mother and father are still waiting for him to return and walk through their door,” she said. “His brother and cousin have lost their person, their mentor and friend who was always there to give them guidance and advice. Friends, family, and coworkers whose lives have forever been changed.”
Sandra Walker herself suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash, one that wiped away her memory of the last interactions with her husband.
News of the widow’s incredible courtroom gesture has since gone viral, with news outlets across the country and even internationally picking up on images of the courtroom hug.