By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — A Slaughterville woman facing a manslaughter charge after the death of an 8-year-old child was bound over for trial this week after a preliminary hearing in Cleveland County District Court.
Kimberly Dawn Wenthold, 29, was charged in September with manslaughter, being involved in a personal injury accident while under the influence of an intoxicating substance and two counts of driving under the influence causing great bodily injury.
Court records show that enough evidence was found during the preliminary hearing to believe the crimes of manslaughter and two counts of great bodily injury occurred. A formal arraignment was set for 9 a.m. May 21 with District Judge Tracy Schumacher.
Wenthold was driving eastbound on State Highway 9, east of 168th Avenue Southeast, when her car traveled across the center line, causing a collision.
An SUV in the westbound lane swerved to avoid Wenthold’s vehicle, but entered the eastbound lane of traffic and collided with a pickup truck in the eastbound lane that had been behind Wenthold, according to the affidavit filed with charges.
The collision between the pickup truck and SUV resulted in damage to both vehicles and injured the six occupants.
An 8-year-old girl was transported by air ambulance to OU Medical Center, where she later died. The other critically injured victim was transported to local hospitals for a variety of injuries that, at the time of the arrest, still were being diagnosed and treated, the affidavit said.
When Wenthold was contacted at the scene in the driver’s seat of her vehicle, she told police she had dropped a drink and was trying to get it when she crossed into the other lane.
According to police, her speech was thick and slurred, her eyes were glassy and her actions were delayed. Wenthold also had poor coordination and difficulty completing tasks, the affidavit said.
Wenthold advised police that she had consumed Xanax within a few hours of the collision. She was then transported to Norman Regional Hospital, where a blood draw was completed. A drug recognition expert also examined her, and she was determined to be impaired and unsafe to operate a motor vehicle, the affidavit said.
About a week after the collision, the deceased victim’s mother filed a petition against Wenthold for auto negligence.
Not only did the mother suffer the death of her child, but she also suffered serious and permanent injuries, medical expenses and likely future medical expenses, lost wages and likely future lost wages, pain and suffering, the petition states.
The petition asked for compensatory damages against Wenthold for an amount in excess of $75,000, plus costs and interest and for punitive damages against Wenthold for an amount in excess of $75,000 together with attorneys’ fees, costs, interests and whatever further relief the court would deem proper and equitable.
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