Police say Shirley Corbett told them that she struck Joseph Russell "J.R." Scott of Antioch as she drove home from Somersville Towne Center on Nov. 23. Joseph was riding his foot-powered scooter to the same mall when he was hit at the intersection of James Donlon Boulevard and Gentrytown Drive.
Corbett, "visibly upset" and accompanied by her attorney, walked into the Antioch Police Department lobby at 9 a.m., said Sgt. Tammany Brooks. After giving police a full statement, she was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run in the Nov. 23 death of Joseph, an Antioch High student and avid motocross racer.
"She said she didn't see him until the last second," Brooks said. "She panicked, and in a state of panic she made an unfortunate decision (to flee).
"After having time to reflect on it, she realized what she needed to do. She took the last few days to get her personal effects together," he said, including establishing a living trust for her family.
"She assumed she was going away for some time," Brooks said.
Knowing that Corbett took several days to get her affairs in order before coming forward has upset Joseph's family, who noted Thursday night that they did not have that luxury.
"She acted selfishly to make sure she'll come out of this as clean as possible," said Joseph's dad, Russell. Whether she was young or old, he added, she still chose to drive away, which made her first mistake even worse.
"If you have kids, young ones," Russell Scott said, "how could you do that?"
Investigators impounded Corbett's silver, four-door, 2001 Toyota Avalon and are collecting evidence from the vehicle. Corbett's car matches the general description given by witnesses at the scene.
"There was damage done consistent with what you would expect," Brooks said, adding that the car was still functional.
According to DMV records, Corbett has no vehicle citations and has been in no previous accidents. She also has no criminal history, Brooks said. Police would not say whether her age or any medical conditions may have contributed to the incident.
Investigators decided to release Corbett on her own recognizance later Thursday as they complete their investigation. "She's not a flight risk or danger to society," Brooks said.
It was unclear whether Corbett would have any driving privileges.
Once Antioch police file a report with the district attorney's office, a warrant likely will be released for Corbett's arrest, police said.
"She was extremely remorseful. It was something weighing on her since the incident. She said it was her intention from the very beginning to turn herself in," Brooks said.
No one responded to knocks on Corbett's door Thursday in the small gated retirement community Summerset in Brentwood.
A celebration of Joseph's life will be held at 11 a.m. today at Immanuel -- A Community of Hope, 55 East 18th St., Antioch. The public is invited to attend.
The family has created a Web site in Joseph's memory at http://www.jrscottmemorial.com, which has instructions on how to donate to a memorial fund set up for his family.
Reach Matthias Gafni at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writers Laurie Phillips and Hilary Costa contributed to this story.