Mom whose drugged driving killed her 3-year-old daughter gets 13 years in prison
A mother who was under the influence of drugs when she crashed her car last year, killing her 3-year-old daughter, was sentenced Friday to 13 years and four months in prison.
Brandy Lee Teague, 32, was charged in the death of Carlee Ramirez, one of Teague’s three children. The others — two boys, ages 10 and 21 months — also were in the car during the crash in in El Cajon, Calif. They were injured but survived. The youngest child still has trouble walking, a prosecutor said.
In March, a jury found Teague guilty of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, three counts of child endangerment, DUI and possession of methamphetamine.
The judge said a prison term was appropriate, given the likelihood that she would be a danger to others — including her own children — if she were to remain free. The children, he noted, were defenseless and essentially held “captive” in the vehicle with their mother behind the wheel.
It was a point the prosecutor had stressed moments earlier.
“These three children were trapped in that car with the one person who should have protected them,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Aimee McLeod said.
She noted that Teague repeatedly had ignored the warnings of her 10-year-old son, who begged his mother to pull over.
“Not only did she ignore it, she put the burden on him by saying, ‘You keep Mommy awake,’ ” the prosecutor said.
The crash occurred when Teague slammed her Hyundai into a telephone pole. Witnesses testified that they were drawn out of their homes when they heard a loud boom. One woman described seeing Teague standing outside her wrecked car, crying hysterically while holding the youngest child in her arms.
The older boy was stumbling nearby with blood on his face. Carlee was still strapped into a car seat.
A witness said she saw Teague go to the front of the car, pull out a black box and raise what looked like a pill bottle to her mouth. The witness said she saw the defendant ingest something that might have been a liquid.
Teague had been prescribed and was taking methadone, a pain reliever usually used in the treatment of heroin addiction. Methamphetamine also was found inside the vehicle.
Teague already has credit for more than a year in custody. She will have to serve 85% of her remaining prison time before she is eligible for release.
Littlefield writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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