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PROVO — A Provo woman accused of leaving her infant daughter unbuckled in a DUI crash that killed the baby has admitted negligent homicide.
Susanne McClellan, 39, pleaded guilty Feb. 7 to negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, in the death of her daughter, 4-month-old Brylee McClellan. In exchange for her plea, an additional charge of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony, was dismissed.
McClellan is scheduled to be sentenced March 21. She faces up to a year in jail.
Early on the morning of Aug. 4, McClellan got a ride home with Chelsea Fuller, 30, police said, and held her daughter on her lap while the other woman drove. Both women had been drinking, charges state, and Fuller had taken citalpram, alprazolam and Ambien, charging documents state.
No one in the car was properly restrained, police said.
Fuller was attempting to turn at 820 N. Oakmont Lane in Provo when her SUV went off the road, struck a tree and tipped onto the driver's side, police said.
Brylee, who was on her mother's lap in the back seat, suffered massive head trauma, neck and spinal cord trauma, and broken bones in her skull, neck and ribs, charges state. The infant was taken to Primary Children's Hospital, where she died about 8:45 a.m.
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.
Fuller's blood-alcohol content was .233, more than double the legal limit, according to charging documents.
A witness who arrived at the scene told police he had offered McClellan a car seat and a ride home, charges state.
Fuller pleaded guilty last month to automobile homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, both third-degree felonies. She was sentenced in the same hearing to consecutive terms of zero to five years in prison.