A San Diego mother who prosecutors say was high on methadone when she crashed her car into a telephone pole, killing her 3-year-old daughter, was warned by her 10-year-old son not to drive that day, a police officer testified.
Brandy Teague, 32, was behind the wheel of her Hyundai Electra in the April 4 crash that killed her daughter, Carlee Ramirez. The tot was not buckled into her car seat properly before the deadly collision on Broadway in El Cajon, a city in east San Diego County, the medical examiner's office said.
El Cajon Police Officer Jeremy Fisher testified during Teague's preliminary hearing Wednesday, saying he interviewed the defendant's young son, Brandon, in the minutes after the crash.
Brandon told Fisher that his mom had been falling asleep at the wheel before the family arrived at a local fast food restaurant for dinner. The boy said he told his mom that they shouldn't be driving.
"Then he told me that she said, 'No, you just stay awake and keep me awake,'" Fisher testified. "He felt that the accident was his fault because he had fallen asleep."
Brandon suffered a gash to his left eye, felt sore in his chest and arm, and told Fisher he was having trouble breathing.
Immediately after the crash, Teague was holding an infant in one of her hands and a bottle of methadone in another, Fisher said.
Fisher described finding 3-year-old Carlee's lifeless body in the backseat of the car. During much of his time on the stand, Teague cried and, at times, sobbed.
Carlee was sitting in a booster seat in the left rear passenger side of the Hyundai when Teague veered off the road and plowed into the pole. While Carlee’s lap belt was secure, the shoulder belt was behind the back of the seat, according to the report.
Although emergency crews performed CPR on Carlee and rushed her to Rady Children’s Hospital, she died soon after. Her cause of death was blunt force injuries to her head and a neck fracture, the medical examiner said, and her manner of death was categorized as accidental.
Teague was bound over for trial Wednesday after her preliminary hearing. The mother now faces a number of felony charges in her daughter’s death, including gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury, driving on a suspended license and other felonies. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
For now, she is being held at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in San Diego’s East County on $1,000,100 bail. She’s scheduled to appear in court for a readiness hearing on Dec. 14, with the start of her trial set for Jan. 25, 2016.
If convicted, Teague faces a maximum of 16 years in prison.