Mother of hit and run victim speaks out

Nevaeh Brave Heart died at 14 years old after a hit-and-run incident left her dying on the road last year.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 7:04 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - After reaching a plea agreement with the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office on Monday, Jordan Hare, the man accused of killing Nevaeh Braveheart, in a hit-and-run crash last year, will now be charged with a misdemeanor.

The charge of hit and run with injury will be dismissed, leaving the family with more questions than answers.

“It’s hard and it’s still kinda hard because I still feel like she’s around, then reality hits, she’s gone you know, it’s very hard. It’s kinda hard to go on without her,” said Heather Bettelyoun, Braveheart’s mother.

Nevaeh Braveheart was 14 years old when she was struck by a truck. The hit-and-run incident left her fighting for her life, while her family hoped and prayed she would somehow survive.

“We drove up to the accident so I got to see her and be with her before she passed. It’s just hard not trying to save her because I couldn’t, there was nothing I could do but sit there and wait,” continued Bettelyoun.

The man originally charged with her death accepted a plea deal with the state’s attorney’s office, dropping his charges from a class six felony to a class one misdemeanor, a category that could be punishable by up to one year in prison.

“I don’t feel like it’s fair, from what he did to my daughter there’s no kind of justice. It’s like she doesn’t matter in this situation and it should be about her because she’s no longer here. I feel there’s no justice there for her like she meant nothing to nobody,” said Bettelyoun.

“It was very disappointing. I know that the state’s attorney’s office, we don’t know why it was made, we don’t know why this deal was made especially at the last hour, but we will find out, and we will make that known,” said Robin Zephier, Bettelyoun’s lawyer.

The plea deal created frustrating and confusing emotions.

“It really hurt me, kinda was in shock for a while. After everything we’ve been through how could you just drop everything? There’s no meaning to her life or to us, or to us, they just kinda pushed us aside, like were nothing like she’s not a human being like her life didn’t matter to anybody. I was feeling like there was going to be something positive coming out of this but it’s all gone downhill,” said Bettelyoun.

“I’m a human being, and I know that it was enraging and there was a lot of anger and disappointment. The state attorney made promises to the surviving family that they would pursue justice on behalf of Nevaeh and that promise was made to assure Heather and her family that the truth will come out even if this young man who did this horrible thing was cowardly enough not to step up and take responsibility for it and state his peace to the authorities or to a jury, but we will find out,” said Zephier.

Bettelyoun said she’s doing her best to stay strong, but it’s hard.

“Trying to be strong for my children and my family right now. At the same time I wish I could do more to try to get justice done for her because she’s no longer here she can’t tell her story,” continued Bettelyoun.

While Bettelyoun believes Nevaeh didn’t get the justice she deserves, the mother is going to continue fighting, so other families will never have to experience this.

“We just keep fighting so that no other family has to go what we go through cuz they shouldn’t have to feel this pain that we’re feeling every day. That she’s gone no longer here. And he showed like no remorse for my daughter and is continuing to live his life like nothing happened, while ours ended,”

Bettelyoun says she will always remember Nevaeh, even if others don’t think much about it.

“She means something to us maybe not to everybody but to us she was somebody and now she’s gone,” said Bettelyoun.

For anyone wanting to stand up for what some in the community view as a lack of justice for Nevaeh, the family asks that it be done peacefully.

“I speak from the standpoint of promoting the principles of peace, unity tolerance, and love, but those can coexist with justice. We ask that anybody who believes to stand up and protest about being enraged about what happened to this young woman, that you please honor the memory of Nevaeh and honor Heather and her family by keeping that peaceful,” said Zephier.