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DUI Manslaughter Mom Going To Prison For Killing Son In Crash

Posted on October 3, 2008

Six months after her son died in a car she was drunk driving at 100 mph, Angela Harper has been sentenced to spend nine years in prison for DUI manslaughter.

Her 13-year-old son Jesse Harper, was one of several teens in the back seat thrown from the car at the time of the crash. 31-year-old Angela was the only one wearing a seat belt, her blood level was measured at .11, and she was speeding. She pled guilty to DUI manslaughter.

In other words she was doing everything wrong that she possibly could.

But the mother of two other teens involved in the crash, believes the sentence is too harsh.
“Something inside of me said I have to forgive her. I have to forgive her because she lost her son,” the unidentified woman said to Channel 4.

“We felt it was significant and important enough to go ahead and prosecute this case aggressively to try to let people know that we treat this just as seriously as if she had killed a complete stranger,” said Assistant State Attorney Mark Borello.

Last April, Harper lost control of her Saturn and hit a metal guardrail on Interstate 295 in Jacksonville.

Sentencing guidelines can send her to prison for 15 years for DUI Manslaughter in the state of Florida.

It is against Florida law to fail to have seat belts on children ages 6 -15. The driver is responsible for passengers under the age of 16 who are not buckled up. Florida has a secondary safety belt law, meaning officers can only write you a ticket if they’ve pulled you over for something else.

The sentence may be too harsh, but this is a tragedy all around. Maybe someone will buckle up next time they think of this story. If there is anything to be learned, it is that had her son been wearing his seat belt, he might be alive today.