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Ex-Columbia officer sentenced to probation in girl’s death

July 8, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A former Columbia police officer who accidentally hit and killed a 4-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to two years of supervised probation.

Andria Heese pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor reckless driving in the death of Gabriella Curry outside Battle High School on Jan. 4, 2019. She was given a 180-day suspended sentence and also ordered to serve 40 hours of community service.

Investigators said Heese was parking her police SUV on the sidewalk to watch students boarding buses when she hit Gabriella, who was playing on the sidewalk. The child’s mother drove a school bus and sometimes brought her along on the route.

Before being sentenced, Heese expressed her remorse to the victim’s family, The Columbia Missourian reported.

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“I would like to say I am very sorry. If I could go back and do it over I would,” she said. “I am devastated by this, and I know you all are devastated too.”

Prosecuting and defense attorneys said Gabriella’s family agreed that Heese should not be sentenced to jail.

Gabriella’s family reached a $3.4 million settlement with the city of Columbia and received $125,000 from Columbia Public Schools.