Initially charged with involuntary manslaughter after fatally hitting a 4-year-old girl with her patrol vehicle, a Missouri police officer recently pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of careless and imprudent driving.
On January 4, 2019, Columbia Police Officer Andria Heese entered the parking lot of Battle High School before attempting to drive her patrol vehicle onto the sidewalk in order to park and monitor the children as they boarded their buses. According to court documents, Heese was traveling at approximately 14mph when 4-year-old Gabriella Curry entered her blind spot and was fatally struck by the vehicle.
The victim’s mother was reportedly one of the bus drivers. Emergency responders transported Curry to University of Missouri Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
According to Heese’s attorney and police investigators, officers routinely parked on that particular sidewalk, and the defendant had been unable to see Curry from her angle before hitting the child with the vehicle.
In May 2019, the City of Columbia paid a $3.4 million settlement to the girl’s family.
Initially charged with involuntary manslaughter, Heese pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of careless and imprudent driving.
Prosecutors asked for no more than 180 days in the Boone County Jail and two years’ probation. The state will release Heese from probation after one year if all of the conditions are met.
According to court testimony, the Curry family did not object to the plea deal.
Heese is currently scheduled to be sentenced on July 9.