(PLATTE COUNTY, Mo.) A Smithville mother who killed her 5-year-old daughter in a DWI crash last year has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
According to the Platte County Prosecutors Office, 32-year-old Samantha Jones received the sentence on July 12 after pleading guilty in May to driving while intoxicated, resulting in the death of her daughter, Macklyn Lucas.
"This defendant owed her highest duty of care to her five-year-old daughter. But instead of protecting her, the defendant chose to drive with a blood alcohol content more the twice the legal limit," Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said in a statement. "It's not a mitigating circumstance when a mother kills her own child by driving drunk; it's an aggravating factor when a defendant places her own child in harm's way."
The crash happened on the night of June 18, 2018, when Jones left a gathering in Camden Point at about 9:00 p.m. Shortly after 9:00 p.m. that night, she lost control of her car on E. Hwy. near Skinner Lake Rd. The car's rear passenger side door hit a telephone pole, breaking the pole into two pieces.
Jone's daughter was belted into a car seat on the rear passenger side. She suffered a traumatic head injury in the crash and died less than three days later at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Jones admitted to drinking as much as two bottles of wine in about 3.5 hours. Jones posted photos of full wine glasses and a photo with her daughter on social media accounts about 45 minutes before leaving the party. The photos were posted with the hashtag, "#momsneeddrinks."
Two hours after the crash, Jones' blood alcohol level was .186, more than twice the legal limit of .08.
During Zahnd's sentencing argument, he responded to Jones' social media posts.
"The defendant said moms need drinks. I will say this: Moms need to put their kids first. Moms need to protect their children. Moms need to obey the law. Moms must not get behind the wheel of a car after they’ve had drinks," he said.
During the hearing, dozens of people supporting Jones showed up. Jone's attorney read portions of letters from several people. The letters asserted Jones should not receive a prison sentence because she killed her own daughter and would punish herself more than prison ever could.
"If we treat DWI cases—especially those where someone has been killed—with a slap of the wrist, there is little left to deter would-be drunk drivers from taking the risk of driving home when they’ve been drinking," Zahnd responded with.
Zahnd asked the court for a 14-year prison sentence and the defendant's attorney sought probation. Circuit Judge Thomas Fincham sentenced her to nine years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Platte County Sheriff's Department. Zahnd prosecuted the case with assistant prosecuting attorneys Amy Ashelford and Max Pepper.
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