By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Bourbon woman will avoid serving time in prison after driving under the influence and wrecking her vehicle, resulting in injuries to two of her children.
Ashlee Nicole Moore, 33, 420 E. Center St. Apartment 8B, Bourbon, was charged with causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body, a level 5 felony; two counts of neglect of a dependent and four counts of operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body with a minor passenger in the vehicle, all level 6 felonies; and driving while suspended prior, a class A misdemeanor. Two additional criminal charges, including a Level 3 felony for neglect of a dependent resulting in serious injury, were both dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Moore was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court One on Thursday, Sept. 7.
For causing serious bodily injury when operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body, Moore received a three-year sentence at the Indiana Department of Correction. One year will be executed and two years were suspended on probation. The executed part can be served through community corrections or home detention if Moore is qualified. For the remaining seven criminal charges, Moore received one-year DOC sentences, all of which will run concurrently, or at the same time as, the three-year sentence.
Moore also received a five-year driver’s license suspension.
In total, Moore received a three-year sentence, with one year executed and two years probation.
A restitution hearing in Moore’s case will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25.
Both Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Sobek and Defense Attorney John Barrett submitted exhibits at Moore’s sentencing. Sobek submitted Moore’s driving record as evidence. Barrett presented multiple exhibits, including several letters in support of Moore, as well as reports from the Department of Child Services and Michiana Community Corrections. The DCS report stated abuse and neglect claims involving Moore and her children were unsubstantiated.
A family friend of Moore’s, Scott Smith, also provided testimony. Smith acknowledged that what occurred was wrong but said Moore was an “excellent mother who provides all of her effort to care for her children.” Smith said Moore being taken away from her children would be detrimental to both her and the children.
Moore said the weekend prior to the accident, she celebrated her birthday in Michigan by legally consuming edibles.
“I’ve been entirely remorseful since this accident and am in fear my children will be taken away,” said Moore. “I’m here because a lot of people believe in me.”
Moore asked Special Judge George Brown to consider placing her on house arrest.
Several of Moore’s relatives and friends also attended the sentencing in support.
Barrett asked the court to highly consider Moore for placement in community corrections and noted Moore was not displaying any physical signs of intoxication following the accident. He said Moore has full custody of her four children. Two of those children were injured in the accident. One was treated and released at the scene. The second child was hospitalized for three days but does not have any long-term injuries as a result.
Barrett said he and Sobek reached a consensus on a plea agreement after “lots of negotiation.” He noted Moore’s acceptance into Michiana Community Corrections and her genuine remorse.
Sobek focused on Moore’s prior criminal record, including previous instances of operating under the influence and driving while suspended.
“Ashlee doesn’t get it and her history shows that,” said Sobek. “Her kids’ lives were on the line.”
Sobek said he wasn’t sure if placing Moore on home detention would prevent Moore from using drugs.
Brown noted the case was tough, citing the children relying on Moore as their sole caretaker and Moore’s prior criminal history as strong factors.
On June 27, 2022, emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle accident involving injuries at the US 30 and CR 800W intersection, near Atwood. At the time of the accident, traffic was flowing in both directions on US 30’s westbound lanes due to ongoing construction at the time.
According to court documents, Moore was unaware of the change in traffic flow and failed to yield the right-of-way to an eastbound truck, resulting in an accident. Four children were in Moore’s vehicle at the time, with two of the children not wearing seat belts. The two children who were not seat belted were injured.
Moore said she had smoked a lot of marijuana in Michigan two days prior. The result of Moore’s certified blood test showed Moore had marijuana metabolites in her blood at the time of the accident.
Moore’s driving privileges in Indiana are suspended prior, with a suspension expiration date of Jan. 27, 2024. She also said she was driving without car insurance.