EASTON, Pa. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has been sentenced to about one to two years on house arrest in a crash on Interstate 78 in eastern Pennsylvania that killed her two grandchildren.
Nadine Walton, 58, of Newark pleaded no contest to felony involuntary manslaughter counts Monday in the September 2016 crash that killed 5-year-old Ravon Robinson and 2-year-old Brielle Robinson. In a no-contest plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.
Authorities said Walton’s car crashed into a guardrail on I-78 in Lower Saucon Township, and two other vehicles then collided with her car. Prosecutors said she was either under the influence of marijuana or was tired and fell asleep at the time of the crash.
She was originally charged with vehicular homicide and aggravated assault, driving under the influence and other counts as well as involuntary manslaughter. Prosecution and defense agreed on a county prison term of a year minus two days to two years minus one day. Prosecutors didn’t oppose house arrest, citing her medical condition.
Defense attorney Phil Lauer said there could be “multiple explanations” for the crash, in which he said his client suffered a brain injury and was in a coma, and also had a fractured spine and broken ribs. He told the judge that Walton “has no real recollection about what occurred.”
Her daughter, Stefany Stephens, the children’s mother, said she favored the agreement that would keep her mother home rather than in the county jail, testifying tearfully about her mother’s difficulties since the crash.
“Since this happened she’s had a lot of emotional guilt and emotional distress,” Stephens said. “She’s not where she once was, physically, emotionally and mentally.”