The Norman Transcript

September 5, 2013

Woman facing first-degree manslaughter; one still in hospital

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A Slaughterville woman arrested on Labor Day after a fatal car wreck in far east Norman, which led to the death of an 8-year-old girl, was formally charged Wednesday in Cleveland County District Court.

Kimberly Dawn Wenthold, 29, was charged with first-degree manslaughter, two counts of driving under the influence causing great bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of being involved in a personal injury accident while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

When Wenthold was contacted at the scene, she told police she had dropped a drink and was trying to get it when she crossed into the other lane, causing two other vehicles to collide, the affidavit filed with charges said. She also admitted to taking Xanax a few hours before the collision, the affidavit said.

Police noted in the affidavit that Wenthold’s speech was thick and slurred, her eyes were glassy, her actions were delayed, she had poor coordination and she had difficulty completing tasks.

While she did not receive any injuries in the fatal accident, she was transported by Norman Regional Hospital by patrol, where they drew her blood.

An examination done by a drug recognition expert at the hospital determined Wenthold to be impaired and unsafe to operate a motor vehicle, the affidavit said.

She remained in custody Wednesday in the Cleveland County Detention Center. Her bond has been set at $100,000.

One Norman woman, 29-year-old Christy Amos, remained at OU Medical Center on Wednesday in “fair condition,” an OU Medical official said.

Amos was in the same vehicle as Cadence Gordon, 8, who was transported from the scene by air ambulance to the OU Medical Center but later died as a result of her injuries. Christina Francis also was in the same vehicle and had to be transported by EMSStat to OU Medical Center but has since been treated and discharged, officials said.

Norman police said one of the women was Gordon’s mother. The three were traveling in a Ford Explorer.

Three others also were injured in the three-vehicle wreck and were transported to Norman Regional Hospital by EMSStat, where they were treated for their injuries and released.

Those individuals included Christopher and Susan Mullendore, both 43, and Leanna Mullendore, 13, all of Harrah. They were traveling in a Dodge Ram pickup.

The collision occurred just before 3 p.m. Monday on State Highway 9, east of 168th Avenue Southeast.

Wenthold was traveling eastbound on Highway 9 when her Ford Escape traveled left of center into the westbound lane of traffic toward a westbound SUV, the affidavit said.

The SUV then swerved and the driver lost control and entered the eastbound lane of traffic. At that point, the SUV collided with an eastbound pickup that was traveling behind Wenthold.

Highway 9 was closed for about five hours while the scene was investigated and cleared.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation also responded to the scene to assist with patient care, traffic control and repairing the road surface.

The collision remains under investigation by the Norman and University of Oklahoma Police Collision Investigation Reconstruction Team.

Jessica Bruha