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Mother pleads not guilty to charge involving her daughter being run over



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 10:32AM

The mother of a 3-year-old girl run over by the family vehicle in August has pleaded not guilty to one count of vehicular assault, according to court officials. 

Heather Williams, 34, whose last known address is in Keene, pleaded not guilty at the Jaffrey District Court on Nov. 9.

Williams’ daughter was run over on Aug. 6, after the parking gear of the family’s 1999 Ford Explorer disengaged on Carey Road in Jaffrey, causing it to roll downhill. The toddler suffered a broken femur after being run over, according to police. 

Williams and her husband Christopher both admitted to police that they knew of the issue with the vehicle’s parking mechanism, with Heather saying she had established a routine when parking the vehicle to determine if the parking gear was going to disengage, according to a Jaffrey police affidavit.

Williams also admitted and reconfirmed to police that the vehicle had rolled out of park in the past. Police stated in the affidavit that the vehicle could move three feet in either direction while it was in park. 

The routine involves Williams slowly releasing the brake after engaging the vehicle in park. After releasing the brake, Williams told police that she rocks side to side in the driver’s seat of the vehicle to see if the movement would disengage the parking brake. 

Jaffrey police inspected the vehicle prior to the arrest, noting a number of issues, including “missing vehicle components, exposed wiring on the interior, rusted out parts on the exterior and a crack along the windshield,” according to the affidavit. 

State police are still investigating the incident and additional charges may be forthcoming.  

The affidavit notes that the inspection sticker on the vehicle was dated July 17, 2017, but showed signs of wear and tear, suggesting the sticker was not new when it was placed on the car. 

During an inventory of the vehicle, police found a work order from Swanzey Truck and Auto. The order, dated July 18, 2017, detailed that the faulty shifting mechanism had been replaced to function properly. 

Christopher admitted to police that he had installed the inspection sticker, although he originally told police a coworker at Swanzey Truck and Auto had done it, according to the affidavit. 

The affidavit stated that state police had determined the inspection to be fraudulent and that Christopher Williams could be facing charges. Jaffrey Police Chief Bill Oswalt, in a past interview with the Ledger-Transcript, said that Swanzey Truck and Auto may also be charged by state police.

 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.