A Georgia woman who refused to stop her vehicle for police and subsequently got into a car crash will likely face charges after the death of the fetus that she was carrying.
According to an article from ABC News, Jessica Bruce was fleeing police in her car when she hit another vehicle, spun around into oncoming traffic, and then got hit by another vehicle. The accident killed the fetus that she was carrying, according to police.
The initial traffic stop was for speeding. Investigators said that Bruce was traveling about 85 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone outside of Atlanta, in the suburbs. Bruce had to be cut out of the wreckage before she could be taken to the hospital. Another person involved in the crash was also taken to the hospital.
An autopsy was performed on the fetus, which authorities are awaiting the results on. That autopsy will theoretically determine if the fetus’ death was the result of the accident.
A toxicology test was also given to Bruce. Police believe that Bruce was drunk at the time of the incident, though the result of the tests will determine how prosecutors will proceed.
Douglas County District Attorney David McDade told ABC that the early information suggests that Bruce will likely face “feticide by vehicle” charges. “The preliminary investigation leads us to believe she was under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “She was fleeing police at a high rate of speed and driving dangerously.”
The vehicular feticide charge carries a 15-year prison sentence, according to ABC News.
According to McDade, the age of the child is not relevant under Georgia law, as long as it was alive just before the incident. “There will almost certainly be criminal responsibility,” he said.
Bruce won’t be charged until she leaves the hospital, according to McDade.
Twenty-four states have the “fetus as victim” written into laws that relate to DUI cases. Some states have laws that vary based on the age of the fetus. Some states have penalties starting at 7–12 weeks, while five states have laws saying that a 16-18-week-old fetus can get someone a full-blown murder charge. Three other states call 28 weeks that cut-off point.