A Blacksburg mother faces more than a decade in prison, after being found guilty of a DUI crash that killed her newborn son in 2011.
According to Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt, 33-year-old Harmony Stair entered a "no contest" plea to charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence (2nd offense within 10 years) on Wednesday. The judge found her guilty on both charges.
Investigators say Stair was driving drunk while pregnant on December 18, 2011, when she drove into the path of an oncoming car at the intersection of North Main Street and Route 460 in Blacksburg, around 1:15 p.m. The oncoming car was going 55 MPH.
A Virginia State Police trooper witnessed the crash.
EMTs airlifted Stair to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where doctors found she had a blood alcohol level of 0.156. Virginia's legal limit of 0.08.
Pettitt says Stair was 7 & 1/2 months pregnant at the time of the crash. The heartbeat of her fetus stopped at one point, and had to be delivered by emergency C-section. After doctors delivered Caiden Matthew Stair, they were able to get his heart beating. However, Caiden needed a ventilator to breathe. Doctors say Caiden had both a traumatic brain injury, and a blood alcohol level of 0.11 at birth.
Caiden survived for two days, before life support was removed on December 20, 2011, and he died from injuries suffered in the crash.
"Stair had a prior conviction for driving under the influence and yet she did it again. This time there were tragic results. Instead of Caiden now being a normal 15 month old just learning to walk, his life ended at two days of age," said Pettitt.
Investigators found about 200 jello shots inside Stair's car, according to Pettitt. The jello shots had a mixture of alcohol and Pedialyte. Stair claimed she made them for a Christmas party, and gave conflicting statements about whether or not she had taken one.
Stair's attorney told the court that Stair is currently pregnant, and asked for her sentencing to be delayed until after the child is born.\
Stair is out of jail on a secured bond. Her sentencing is set for September 4th.
Stair faces up to ten years for the involuntary manslaughter conviction, and 12 months on the DUI conviction.