Girl, 7, ejected from moving car mother charged ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

April 07, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Seven-year-old Mandy Candella's wish to stay with her grandparents Monday left her bruised and bloodied and her mother accused of shoving the young girl out of a moving car.

Donna Marie Candella, 26, of Pasadena was charged yesterday with assault with intent to murder and child abuse. She is being held without bail in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center until psychological testing can be completed.

A witness who scooped the youngster off Fort Smallwood Road and delivered her to her grandmother's arms said she saw Mandy "launched" from a car moving at 25 mph. Another daughter, Ashley, 5, was driven home several hours later by a friend.

"Ashley liked to go with mommy [to her boyfriend's]," said Florence Humphreys, Ms. Candella's mother. "But Mandy liked to come home to her grandmother's. Mandy likes to come home, and that is why my daughter got angry."

The Humphreys, Ms. Candella and her two children share a small, single-family home in the 8800 block of Fort Smallwood Road.

Yesterday, Mandy kept to herself on a living room couch, unimpressed by the steady stream of reporters and TV crews that kept arriving. She was tired and wanted to sleep.

Mandy, who had bruises and a large scrape on her forehead, said she was scared for her mother.

"She was drinking Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday and Monday," Mandy said, methodically counting off the days on her fingers. "Five days." Court documents said Ms. Candella has a severe drinking problem.

Mrs. Humphreys said her daughter would frequently drink before picking up Mandy and Ashley from Jacobsville Elementary in Pasadena. Mrs. Humphreys said her daughter usually took the girls to Brooklyn, where she would visit and drink with her boyfriend until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.

Police said Ms. Candella appeared "to be highly intoxicated" at the time of her arrest and she admitted to detectives that she had consumed a six-pack of beer that evening, though it was unclear if that was before or after the alleged assault.

Court documents say Ms. Candella said Mandy "jumped out of the car" as she passed their home.

During a short bail review hearing in District Court in Annapolis yesterday, Ms. Candella told a judge she would seek alcohol and drug treatment to avoid losing custody of her children.

"I'll help myself if that's what I have to do," Ms. Candella told Judge Clayton Greene Jr.

Ms. Candella also was charged with reckless endangerment and maiming with malicious injury. If convicted, she faces 65 years in prison.

Once in the car on Monday afternoon, Mandy said she was scared and asked to be let out. "Mommy told me to open the door and she pushed me out," the girl told police, court documents said.

Mandy said she crawled onto a sidewalk to avoid being struck by passing cars. A witness, Linda Ann McMillion, said she stopped, ran to the girl, picked her up and carried her to the closest home. Mrs. Humphreys opened the door.

"I was just lying on the couch," the grandmother recalled yesterday. "This lady was banging the door asking about this child. I said, 'Oh my God.' The woman said, 'This child is hurt and you have to get her help.' "

Mrs. Humphreys said her daughter had returned from Brooklyn and was going to turn herself in to police when she was arrested in her driveway about 10 p.m. -- roughly seven hours after the incident.

The Humphreys said their daughter often drove with her children in the car after drinking.

"Mandy kept telling her about drugs but it was no good," said Robert Neal Humphreys. Numerous school books with titles such as "Growing Up Drug Free" were scattered on tables in the home.

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