‘The justice system is jacked up’: Protest to be held over sentence of man who hit, killed Roanoke woman

Linda Pierson hit walking home from work in February 2019

ROANOKE, Va. – All that could be heard Thursday afternoon at the intersection of Fifth Street and Campbell Avenue in downtown Roanoke was the sound of cars going by.

But for about an hour Friday night, you may hear another sound.

“We just plan on bringing some signs...and maybe sing a couple of songs," said Gloria Henry, who’s organizing a protest at the intersection in honor of Linda Pierson.

Henry organized the event after learning Gene Gallimore would only have to spend 18 months behind bars, including time he’s already served, for hitting and killing her friend last February.

Pierson, 58, was walking near the intersection when she was hit.

Gallimore pleaded guilty Monday to felony hit and run and had a misdemeanor charge of driving without a license dropped.

“I actually cried, because this girl, her life was taken so wrongly," said Henry. "Appropriate sentence? That’s a hit-and-run that killed a person. I feel he should get life.”

As of Thursday, Gallimore was scheduled to be released in about four months.

“I think things don’t get done unless people gather together and make their voices heard," said Roanoke RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes.

He’s glad a protest is taking place.

RIDE Solutions works to reduce vehicle traffic on roads as a way to help the environment.

“One of the things we’re really interested in are vulnerable road user laws," Holmes said.

Those laws require drivers to prove they did everything possible to avoid hitting someone, but Holmes says the laws aren’t as tough in Virginia as they are in other states.

“The justice system is jacked up," Henry said. “There was no justice for her kids, her grandkids.”

On Thursday, 10 News reached out to the Roanoke Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for comment on the sentencing and and what the sentencing guidelines are but did not hear back.

Friday’s protest is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.