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A mother's neglect ruins four lives

One of the things that children learn in middle school science is the physics of moving objects. They learn that objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Those same laws pertain to cars. If the vehicle you're riding in stops suddenly, unless you are belted you keep moving at the same speed you were moving before. Car stops, you keep going; out the window, through the windshield or through the roof. Elementary physics. It's too bad a young Bayfield woman didn't pay attention in class.

That 23 year-old woman is facing reckless homicide charges for flipping her car with her three young children and her own sister inside - none of them wearing seatbelts. When the SUV stopped spinning her two year-old was dead, her 4 year-old had severe brain damage, her 6 year-old broke a hip, and the 15 year old sister sustained multiple fractures and internal injuries. All were flung out of the car by Newton's First Law of Motion. The driver was wearing her seatbelt, but she didn't bother buckling the kids in.

What makes this case all the more upsetting is, the woman had four traffic tickets for unrestrained passengers and even had training on how to properly buckle her kids in and she was repeatedly warned by police who spotted her driving with the children unbelted. She mustn't have been paying attention.  At the accident scene police found a booster seat for the 2 year-old but the child was not buckled into it and the seat was not fastened into the car.

The young mother faces as much as 100 years in prison if she is convicted on all the charges against her. Police and prosecutors are mystified as to why she would take the time to buckle herself in but not the kids. And why she would let the 15 year-old ride unrestrained. Some have complained about the serious criminal charges brought against her, but the district attorney says the repeated failure to look out for her children's safety amounts to recklessness. Maybe, while she's in jail, she will have time to catch up on that physics lesson.

Source: Pioneer Press, "Mom put her own safety before her children's," Mike Nicholas, Oct. 13, 2012

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