Newark woman ends hunger strike; awaits driver's sentencing responsible for brother's death

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23-year-old Riti Lomesh of Newark fasted for nearly three weeks out of protest. On Monday, she ended a hunger strike in honor of her 19-year-old brother Karan killed in a car crash almost a year ago.

On Tuesday, an Alameda County judge will sentence the driver who caused the crash on Palomeras Road near Niles Canyon Road in Castro Valley.

Lomesh lost 26 pounds during the hunger strike. Inspired by Cesar Chavez and Gandhi, she hopes her strike will bring awareness and change for tougher road laws.

"I've tried really hard to let go and accept but I found you can't accept being trampled on," said Riti Lomesh of Newark.

Back on April 20 of last year, Lomesh's brother was riding in the bed of a friend's pick-up truck on Palomeras Road. The 20-year-old driver was speeding and failed to make the curve. His truck flipped. Lomesh's brother was thrown from the truck and died. The driver pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter.

"It resulted in real pain," said Lomesh. "For the rest of my life I won't have my brother. I turned 23 and I realized he will always be 19. That's messed up."

She called the crash avoidable and wants a harsher punishment for the driver who faces a year in county jail.

"I was protesting the lack of clarity in our vehicular laws, the fact his license wasn't suspended," said Lomesh. "The fact the judge was so casual about a crime like this."

To get her voice heard, she went on a hunger strike, only drinking water, sitting outside the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

She wore a sign that read hunger strike and carried a photo of her late brother.

Lomesh ended the strike monday sensing her body had enough. Her clothes are now looser. She hopes her brother will be remembered, as a symbol for justice.

"At the end of the day if nothing happens," said Lomesh. "I want to raise awareness and my brother's life is worth speaking up about."

Lomesh is now drinking carrot juice and liquids until her body can get back to eating solid food. She will be at Tuesday's sentencing hoping her strike made a difference.