After pleading guilty to careless and imprudent driving, a Missouri police officer was sentenced Thursday to two years of supervised probation after killing a 4-year-old girl with her patrol vehicle.
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.
Initially charged with involuntary manslaughter, Heese pleaded guilty last month to a lesser charge of careless and imprudent driving. According to court testimony, the Curry family did not object to the plea deal.
In May 2019, the City of Columbia paid a $3.4 million settlement to the girl’s family. Prosecuting and defense attorneys said Gabriella’s family agreed that Heese should not be sentenced to jail.
On Thursday, Heese was given a 180-day suspended sentence and two years of supervised probation with a chance of early discharge after one year. She has also been ordered to serve 40 hours of community service.
“I would like to say I am very sorry. If I could go back and do it over I would,” Heese told the victim’s family before her sentencing. “I am devastated by this, and I know you all are devastated, too.”
“I don’t have any ill words for you. I know it’s pretty tough for you right now,” Gabriella’s father, Aaron Curry, told Heese while taking the stand to give a statement. “I wish you the best in the future.”