Tasha Hayes, the teenager allegedly responsible for the accident that killed the beloved biker Charles King, is facing prison time for failing to stop and render aid, a third degree felony that carries up to 10 years. Last night on the NBC5 news, which I won’t link to for this reason, I saw her mug shot and listened to a friend of King’s say he wants the girl to face tough punishment. It all got me wondering: What made her flee the scene of a fatal accident that she caused? What’s her story? Would any judge really put that timid-looking girl in prison, and if so, how much good will it serve? I just had a lengthy discussion with Hayes’ ex-boyfriend Carter Bernard, who I tracked down via Facebook of all things. Here’s what I learned from him about the accused:

Tasha Hayes attended Berkner High School through last year when she dropped out because of failing grades. Bernard, who is serving in Afghanistan right now, says he doesn’t talk to her much anymore because she has a new boyfriend, but that he still cares for her a great deal.

"Tasha mixed in with the wrong crowd and the wrong boyfriend, but she’s a good girl — mainly the best girlfriend I could have," he says. Most tellingly, he says, she has always been a very timid driver. "Whenever Tasha and I dated, she was scared as hell to drive. I tried to teach her but she wouldn’t get behind the wheel to save her life. Now that I find out she’s driving and she hit a person, I know for a fact that she just freaked out."

While Bernard understands the pain the King’s family and friends must feel, he is bothered by the outrage against Tasha. "I’ve seen the story and I see a lot of people calling her stupid and retarded and all this other jazz. I can personally say that she is none of those things. Like I said before, she was just freaked out, that’s all, and I’ll bet my whole military savings that if you were a fresh 18 year old in that situation, you’d probably do the same thing."

This is just bad all around: The community lost a great guy. A girl who is already on a troubled path, should she go to prison, will no doubt come out in a few years hardened and probably fully committed to a sub par lifestyle that in no way benefits society. Whatever happens, she will feel the consequenses of her mistakes and crimes for a long time.