Woman sentenced to 90 days in jail for fatal hit-and-run

The photo shows the mug shot of Elizabeth Richards, who police say hit and killed Heather...
Richards wasn’t arrested until Aug. 2022, 14 months after the initial crash.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 3:14 PM EDT
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PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) – A woman who killed a Phoenix mother in a hit-and-run was sentenced Monday to 90 days in jail followed by three years of probation.

Police said Elizabeth Richards struck and killed Heather Fairchild on June 23, 2021. Fairchild died a week later at the hospital.

Police said Richards “freaked out” when she hit Fairchild, then “freaked out some more” when she saw her lying in the road.

Richards then fled the scene and called her daughter to tell her what happened. Richards’ daughter then went to the crash site and told police her mother was the one who hit Fairchild.

Richards’ daughter then directed police to Richards’ apartment, where police said they found her slurring her speech and swaying side to side. She also smelled of alcohol, officers said.

However, Richards told investigators that she had drank some wine after she got home from the collision.

Although police questioned Richards on the day of the hit-and-run, she wasn’t arrested until August 2022, which was 14 months after the crash.

Fairchild’s mother, Priscilla Pfleging, previously told Arizona’s Family she had mixed emotions following the arrest, wondering why it took so long to take Richards into custody.

“She left my daughter laying in the road screaming,” Pfleging said. “She stopped and looked at her and saw she was bleeding, but she took off and left her there. I feel angry that they took so long to get her, but I am relieved that they got her.”

In August 2022, following Richards’ arrest, Arizona’s Family reached out to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and asked why it took 14 months for an arrest to be made. A spokesperson said they couldn’t talk specifically about this case but said they had been dealing with a backlog of cases.

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said during an August 2022 news conference that justice sometimes takes time to hand down.

“My message to victims is, we are doing everything we can and we will do everything we need to do to ensure justice, but this takes time,” Mitchell said.