Mother charged in DWI death of daughter due in court - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

Mother charged in DWI death of daughter due in court

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Alanna Garris, 6, died in a head-on collision on February 22. Alanna Garris, 6, died in a head-on collision on February 22.
Amber Sandvig's 2003 Mazda Amber Sandvig's 2003 Mazda
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NEW BERN, N.C. -
A New Bern woman is facing up to nine years in prison for a fatal DWI crash.

According to prosecutors, 24-year-old Amber Sandvig killed her 6-year-old daughter Alanna by driving high on drugs and crashing the car while her two children were in the backseat.

Sandvig showed little emotion as she walked in for her first court appearance Monday, which angered some of her relatives.

"I wanted to see her cry. Shed a tear. She has no remorse for what she's done," said Joyce Taylor, Alanna's paternal grandmother.

Authorities say Sandvig was behind the wheel during a head-on collision February 22 on Brice's Creek road that killed her 6-year-old daughter and seriously injured her two-year-old son Blaze.

A lab result found oxycodone in Sandvig's system.  Law enforcement also found also drug paraphernalia in her car and on her person, including syringes, a needle, and spoon.

"I mean her taking the medication is bad enough, but I was flabbergasted when I learned that needles were found and she had been shooting," said Billie Jo Garris, Alanna's great aunt and Sandvig's aunt.

Sandvig is now charged with six felonies, but in spite of it all, her father, Michael Sandvig, says he loves her and supports her 100%.

"We made eye contact and let her know that we're there and it's the beginning of a long process. We're going to be there for her all the way through," said Michael Sandvig.

Some of Sandvig's relatives want her punished to the fullest extent, but they know that no prison sentence could ever bring back Alanna.

"We've lost a darling little girl because of this and it's sad. It didn't have to happen this way," said Billie Jo Garris.

"You know, we're all suffering every day. We sit and look at her pictures every day, and we cry," said Taylor.

A year ago Sandvig was charged with another DWI involving her children. District Attorney Scott Thomas says Sandvig was found with drugs after the wreck that her injured her two year old son.

"I mean she got away with one wreck, and now she had another one which took my granddaughter," said Taylor.

Sandvig remains in the Craven County Jail on a $2 million secured bond. Michael Sandvig says Blaze is doing OK in foster care.

Sandvig is charged with felony death by motor vehicle, three counts of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, and two counts of felony child abuse.

Sandvig was released from the hospital a week and a half ago, and the district attorney's office got the results of the drug test at the end of last week, said Thomas.

Her next court date is April 22. She received a court-appointed attorney.

--- Previous Story ---

Friends and family said their final goodbyes to a young girl killed in a suspected DWI crash.

Tuesday was the funeral for 6-year-old Alanna Garris.
     
A sign outside Bridgeton Pentecostal Holiness Church quotes Alanna as saying, "I'm just a little flower."
     
Alanna died February 22 in a head-on car crash on Brices Creek Road. Her mother is now charged with DWI.
     
The funeral home says about 200 people attended the girl's funeral.
     
Her two-year-old brother survived the crash.

--- Previous Story ---

A local elementary school is honoring a 6-year-old girl killed last week, in a car crash in New Bern.

Six-year-old Alanna Garris died in the crash on Brice's Creek Road. She was a first-grader at New Bern's Brinson Memorial Elementary. The school's principal, Todd Bradley said the news of Alanna's death affected everyone at the school.
 
"It's impacted our students, anytime you lose a member of your family, it can be very devastating," said Bradley.

After speaking with Alanna's family, Bradley says the school has started a donation fund to help pay for her funeral services.

In addition to accepting donations, Bradley says the school's staff is planning several ways to honor Alanna's memory.

"We do plan on having a vigil for Alanna. We don't have that established yet. We're going to donate a page in the year book to her, we're going to plant a Japanese Maple Tree in her honor," said Bradley.

He says they are also planning a pink ribbon day for Alanna, to represent her caring personality and because it was her favorite color. 

You can contribute to Alanna's memorial fund through Brinson Elementary School. Make checks out to Green Leaf Memorial Park. Her funeral will take place Tuesday.

--- Previous Story---

A car crash took the life of a six-year-old girl and now, her mother is charged in the wreck that caused her daughter's death.

Amber Sandvig, 24, is charged with DWI, driving left of center, and for improper child restraints. Sandvig was driving under the influence while her children, ages two and six, were with her, according to a State Highway Patrol wreck report.

The car crashed head-on into a Cadillac on Brices Creek Road Friday afternoon, sending five people to the hospital.

This is the second time Sandvig has been charged with DWI. The district attorney says she was charged with that crime back on January 11, 2012, and her two year old son, Allan Garris, was in the car during that crash.

Just last month, Sandvig was charged with two counts of drug possession.

"It was very sad that a child lost their life, because of a decision that the parent made," said Brenda English, a New Bern resident.

More charges could be filed against Sandvig because of her daughter's death, said district attorney Scott Thomas.

According to Sandvig's father's Facebook page, Sandvig was listed in stable condition at the hospital yesterday, while her two-year-old son is doing OK after a hip injury.

--- Original story ---

A mother remains hospitalized, but she's now breathing on her own and in stable condition after a fatal wreck in Craven County.

Troopers tell 9 On Your Side they're charging 25-year-old Amber Sandvig with DWI for the crash that killed her daughter.
     
They say she was involved in a head-on collision Friday afternoon on Brices Creek Road.
     
Sandvig was traveling with her two children, Allan and Alanna in a gold Mazda, when she went left and collided with a black Cadillac.
     
The six-year-old girl was killed. We're told she wasn't wearing her seat belt properly.
     
The 2-year-old boy is in the hospital with a broken femur.

The driver of the Cadillac is being treated for fractured legs.

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