Lily and Greg Gossage, parents of 16-year-old Aiden Gossage, stand by the roadside memorial set up for Aiden who was hit and killed by a suspected negligent driver, Saturday Sept. 4, 2021. Photo by Tim Grobaty.

Two Long Beach parents are publicly speaking out against a plea deal they say the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is offering to the man accused of killing their son.

Sixteen-year-old Aiden Gossage was killed in 2021 when an allegedly negligent driver struck and killed him while he was crossing the street on his way home from the gym.

Prosecutors charged the driver, Kevin Chris Dahl, with a felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, which can carry a sentence of two to six years in prison, but they’re now offering him a chance to have the crime reduced to a misdemeanor, according to Aiden’s parents, Greg and Lily Gossage.

Greg Gossage said the DA’s office informed him and his wife in December that prosecutors were planning to offer Dahl a plea agreement where he would admit to the crime and, in exchange, be sentenced to just six months in county jail, followed by 30 days of trash pickup with CalTrans and two years probation.

If he completes the terms of his probation, Dahl’s felony would drop to a misdemeanor, according to Greg Gossage.

“It was a shock,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem sufficient for what he did.”

The DA’s office declined to confirm the Gossage’s account or comment on Dahl’s case when contacted by the Long Beach Post. Dahl’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

At its graduation ceremony, Millikan honored senior Aiden Gossage, who was killed when he was struck by a suspected drunk driver on Sept. 4, 2021. A chair with his graduation gear and photo, during the 66th Annual Millikan High School Commencement, at Long Beach Veterans Stadium, Wednesday, June 9, 2022. Photo by Stephen Carr.

Under California law, prosecutors are required to notify families of victims about plea deals if the families request it, but the deals can move forward without their approval.

The Gossages say they’ve made their opinion clear to the DA’s office.

“Six months is way too short,” said Greg Gossage. “I just don’t think this sentence is going to help change people’s behavior and help them understand the seriousness of the crime.”

Until now, the case against Dahl had been winding slowly toward a trial.

Police originally accused Dahl of being under the influence during the crash, but after Dahl refused to complete DUI testing at the scene, police drew his blood, which did not prove he was intoxicated, according to a detective’s testimony.

Prosecutors, however, allege Dahl was grossly negligent because he was speeding and not paying attention when he crashed into Aiden Gossage, who was crossing Los Coyotes Diagonal and Deborah Street on the night of Sept. 4, 2021.

Dahl’s attorney, Bryan Schroeder, who previously called for the case to be dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor, rejected the idea that his client did anything that could be categorized as “gross negligence.” Instead, Schroeder cast Dahl as a victim who was driving through a dangerous intersection that has a bend in the road leading up to the crosswalk, which can obscure a driver’s view.

That, along with Aiden Gossage not pressing the button to turn on the crosswalk’s LED lights, prevented Dahl from seeing the 16-year-old until he could no longer avoid him, Schroeder argued.

However, during a preliminary hearing in April 2023, a judge pointed to the car’s lack of evasive movement and evidence of speeding and ordered Dahl to stand trial for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Greg Gossage, who for the last 25 years has worked in the Long Beach Police Department crime lab and testified as an expert in similar crash cases, said he felt “helpless” when he heard about the plea deal.

“I felt I wanted to do more but I couldn’t. The legal process wouldn’t allow for that,” he said.

Daniel Quinn, 19, holds a photo of Aiden Gossage, who was killed by an allegedly negligent driver in 2021. The two were friends who often worked out together. Quinn was one of 17 students awarded the Aiden Tai Gossage gym membership at Anytime Fitness, awarded on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

Greg Gossage said he understands the DA wants to guarantee a conviction in the case, but he and his wife are “unhappy with it.”

The father said he wouldn’t lose sleep if Dahl spent the rest of his life in prison, but that’s not the outcome he’d want because he understands nothing is ever going to bring his son back. He said he would like to see Dahl serve at least a year in county jail or even two years under house arrest followed by driving lessons once he’s released.

“It’s frustrating,” Greg said. “But I’m interested in being fair to him and everyone else.”

Dahl has remained free ever since posting $100,000 bail the day after the crash.

Aiden Gossage’s legacy, meanwhile, has been continued by family and friends. Last year, his mother worked with Anthony Carter, owner of Anytime Fitness, to create a special gym membership in his honor.

Now, Lily Gossage is asking for support from anyone willing to attend the next hearing in Dahl’s case where she says he’s expected to be offered the plea deal. It’s scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday at Department H in the Compton Courthouse.