Mother of boy killed in crash sentenced

She gets 30 days for letting toddler ride in car with his drunken father

October 13, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A pregnant Westminster woman was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in jail for contributing to the death of her toddler son last year by allowing his drunken father to take him for a car ride that turned fatal.

Angela D. Moffitt, 21, entered an Alford plea in August, meaning she did not admit guilt but agreed the state had enough evidence to convict her on a charge of contributory negligence in the crash.

By entering that plea, Moffitt avoided a more serious charge of reckless endangerment and agreed to a maximum prison sentence of three years.

Prosecutor David P. Daggett told Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. that despite the defendant's tearful request for leniency, she had not accepted responsibility for the death of her son, Bryan Andrew Toms.

The boy was killed Sept. 6, 1998, when his father, Robert Andrew Toms, 21, of Westminster lost control of his car on Bloom Road and skidded into a mailbox. The mailbox smashed through the rear passenger window, striking the boy's head as he sat in a safety seat.

Robert Toms was convicted in March of homicide while intoxicated. He was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 18 months suspended.

Daggett sought a minimum 90-day sentence for Moffitt, who also was a passenger in the car.

Beck acknowledged that Moffitt has been hospitalized 22 times for treatment of depression, but noted she had admitted in a pre-sentence investigation to consuming a gallon of vodka a day.

"That was before," Moffitt told the judge. "I don't drink [alcohol] anymore."

Beck reminded Moffitt she's only 21 years old, was diagnosed as alcohol-dependent and is expecting a second child in February.

"You say you'll do a better job by this child and, speaking for your unborn child, I certainly hope you will," Beck said.

The judge imposed a one-year sentence before suspending all but 30 days, and ordered that she be placed on two years' probation after she is released.

The jail sentence prompted Moffitt's mother to storm from the courtroom.

"Bring that woman back here," Beck shouted to a bailiff.

Once the woman was back in the courtroom, the judge waited until deputies escorted the defendant to a holding cell in the courthouse, and then he asked her if she wanted to be held in contempt for slamming the courtroom door.

The woman apologized and was allowed to leave.

Pub Date: 10/13/99

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