The 36-year-old mom, later identified as Tiffany, was dropping her son Julian off at school when she ran over the 9-year-old boy with her vehicle, court records say.
Prosecutors said that the mother was attempting to shake the boy’s grip from the vehicle’s door handle when she ran him over in the school parking lot, breaking multiple bones in his body and fracturing his skull. The third-grade student reportedly followed his mother from the school and ran up to her vehicle after she dropped him off, but the mother told him to go back inside. He didn’t.
Instead, he grabbed the door handle. Rather than stop, his mom hit the gas. The mother admitted to investigators that she knew her son had continued to walk alongside her vehicle as she drove, per reports.
Prosecutors said that the mother also admitted to moving the steering wheel from left to right, then accelerating the vehicle as she tried to shake loose his grasp. As his mother drove off, the 9-year-old boy clung to the door for nearly 50 yards before he lost his grip and fell under a back tire, which ran over his head and body. Unfortunately, the child sustained multiple broken bones and a fractured skull, injuries severe enough, they could have killed him. Although the boy lived, much to the surprise of his doctors, he was in a coma for a week. Afterward, he would require constant care and physical therapy due to the significant injuries he suffered.
Tiffany was charged with second-degree child abuse and reckless driving causing serious injury. “It is simply inexcusable what you did,” County Circuit Court Judge Benson told the mother in a courtroom.
“Your little boy has suffered terribly,” the judge added, explaining that the rear wheel went over Julian’s “full body, full head.” Before sentencing the mother, Judge Benson heard from the boy’s father, John, who said his grief was compounded by his many failed attempts to prevent a tragedy like this from happening.
The father said he hadn’t seen his son in 5 years before seeing him in a coma in the hospital, but he tried for years to intervene due to the mother being so unstable, so irrational, and so reckless. The boy’s dad said he also told detectives that something is not right with the mother.
The mom’s attorney, Anna, argued that the mother is the only stability her children have, describing her client as a loving parent whose biggest concern is her son’s recovery.
To some degree, Judge Benson must have agreed because, after the mother pleaded guilty to reckless driving, she only received 30 days in jail, which she was permitted to serve on weekends so she could take her son to his doctor appointments. Benson actually sentenced the mother to 6 months, but all but the 30 days were suspended.
She was also given 5-years probation. The charge of second-degree child abuse was dismissed in a plea agreement. According to reports, the mother retained custody and was still caring for her son, who has a twin sister, and taking him to get treatment at the time of her sentencing. Perhaps that is a reason for Benson’s seemingly lenient sentence.
Expressing her remorse, the mother acknowledged that she would have to live with the guilt of causing her son’s disabling injuries. “I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she told the court. “All I care about is being there for my son as he recovers and supporting him every day as I have been doing.”
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