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Mercy offered to driver after accident that took teen's life aids healing


This memory box honors Dominik Pettey, a 17-year-old who attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington and was killed in a car accident in November 2014. Margaret "Maggie" Baisley, the driver of the vehicle that caused the death of Pettey, said the compassion shown to her after the accident by the boy's parents was the "most profound" experience of grace she has felt in her life. (CNS photo/Nicholas Pettey)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The driver of a vehicle who caused the death of a Washington Catholic high school student said the compassion shown to her after the accident by the boy's parents was the "most profound" experience of grace she has felt in her life.

The driver, Margaret "Maggie" Baisley, was a 24-year-old doctoral student in clinical psychology at the time of the November 2014 crash that killed Dominik Pettey, who attended Jesuit-run Gonzaga College High School in Washington.

She said she became humbled and changed in a "billion different ways" when his parents, Magdalena and Patrick Pettey, showed mercy by offering their prayers and by asking a local prosecutor not to charge her with manslaughter.

Baisley said the parents' request to meet with her and express concern for her well-being led to a positive change in all of her relationships, professionally and personally.

The greatest gift the parents gave, Baisley said, was to let her feel forgiven for her connection to the "worst possible thing you could do: be responsible for the death of another person."

Magdalena Pettey, a daily churchgoer and eucharistic minister at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Bethesda, Maryland, now gives talks about the value of divine mercy and said that she and her husband chose to forgive Baisley because they knew it is what Jesus would want of them.

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