Family shocked after fatal hit-and-run suspect released on PR bond

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - In between tears, Amelia Clark and her husband Kent stared hard at the 5 x 7 picture of their nephew Ronny Gallardo Wednesday. Just hours after the South Carolina Highway Patrol charged the driver of the car that hit and killed him, a judge in Berkeley County released the suspect on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond.

"I was shocked," says Kent Clark, Gallardo's uncle. "I thought he was going to put a bond on her, but a PR bond?"

On March 6, Highway Patrol says 22-year-old Cassie Gelzer struck 17-year-old Ronny Gallardo with her car on U.S. 176 near Cane Bay High School. Authorities say she drove off and left the scene of the collision, returning later.

The Clark's experienced a roller coaster ride of emotions Wednesday. State troopers charged Gelzer with leaving the scene of an accident with death or bodily injury in the morning. In a packed room at Hill-Finklea Detention Center that night, she was freed on bond.

"I was looking forward to him," says Ameila Clark. "I wanted to live long enough for him to be a grown man. To marry and have children. He was a good, good young man."

35-year-old Monica Whaley is also free on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond after authorities say she struck Ernesto Mungaray on Old Back River Road. The coroner ruled Mungaray's death a suicide because they say he laid down in the roadway, but highway patrol still charged Whaley because she left the scene and did not return.

If convicted of the offense, both could face 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Copyright 2011 WCSC. All rights reserved.