A 45-year-old Laguna Niguel woman who pleaded guilty to dragging her 8-year-old daughter as the victim tried to get her intoxicated mother to stop driving away in Placentia has been given the chance to avoid jail time under a plea agreement with a judge, according to court records obtained Monday.
Erin Michelle Garcia pleaded guilty Friday to failing to stop at an accident hit-and-run with injury, a felony, as well as misdemeanor counts of child abuse and endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.
Garcia accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Gassia Apkarian, who sentenced the defendant to 180 days in jail, but suspended the punishment if Garcia completes 20 days of Caltrans labor and attends domestic violence and child abuse treatment programs, according to court records.
Garcia was also placed on four years of formal probation, but if she stays out of trouble it will be reduced to informal probation in two years.
Police were called at 11:37 p.m. Sept. 16 to the 400 block of Orchid Drive regarding an assault, police said.
When the officers arrived they found the girl, who sustained scratches to her legs and feet, police said.
Garcia was “intoxicated” as she attempted to leave her mother’s home, prompting her concerned daughter to run after her and attempt to get her to stop the vehicle, police said.
As the girl clutched the passenger’s side door handle and implored her mother to stop, Garcia gave her a glance and then started driving away, dragging the girl about 300 feet, police said.
A bystander who saw what was happening went to stop the vehicle, but as he and the girl’s grandmother attempted to get Garcia out of the vehicle, the woman proceeded to drive away again, dragging the man along for a short distance, police said.
Garcia drove away from the area, but was later found hiding behind some bushes in the backyard of her mother’s home and when officers attempted to arrest her she kicked at the officers, police said.
The girl and the good Samaritan were taken to hospitals to be treated for moderate injuries, police said.