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PROVO — A woman charged with driving drunk and crashing, killing an unbuckled infant sitting on her mother's lap in the vehicle, pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to prison.
Chelsea Fuller, 30, accepted a plea deal Wednesday admitting to automobile homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, third-degree felonies. She was sentenced in the same hearing to consecutive terms of zero to five years in prison.
As part of the deal, the automobile homicide charge was reduced from a second-degree felony while an additional infraction for failure to use a child restraint was dismissed.
Early on the morning of Aug. 4, Fuller was driving with another woman, Susanne McClellan, 39, who was holding her 4-month-old daughter, Brylee, on her lap, police said. Attempting to turn at 820 N. Oakmont Lane in Provo, Fuller's car went off the road, struck a tree and tipped over.
Fuller's blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was .233, more than double the legal limit, according to court documents.
Brylee sustained fatal injuries in the crash, including massive head trauma, neck and spinal cord trauma, and broken bones in her skull, neck and ribs, charges state.
McClellan, who hit the windshield when the car rolled, experienced skull fractures as well as cuts and broken bones in her face.
When police arrived, McClellan told them Brylee had been in a car seat and she wasn't sure who was driving, charges state. When she learned the baby had died, however, she told police she knew she and Fuller were both drunk when they got into the car, and that Fuller was the driver.
A witness who arrived at the scene told police he had offered McClellan a car seat and a ride home, charges state.
Fuller's sentence was enhanced based on two prior misdemeanor convictions. Fuller pleaded guilty to DUI in October 2012 and pleaded no contest to impaired driving in January 2012, according to Utah court records. A police affidavit filed in 4th District Court indicates she also has a history of substance abuse.
McClellan is charged with obstructing justice, a third-degree felony, and negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor. She is scheduled for an arraignment Jan. 24.