NH Mom Charged After Family's SUV Runs Over 3-Year-Old Daughter
JAFFREY — The mother of a 3-year-old girl has been arrested and her father may also face charges, all relating to a summer incident with the family's SUV that left the girl with a broken leg.
Keene police arrested Heather Williams, 34, of Oak Street, on Saturday on a warrant and charged with vehicular assault.
First responders arrived at 2 Forest Park Estates in Jaffrey on Aug. 6 for a report of a 3-year-old girl who had been run over by a Ford Explorer. The girl was flown to UMASS Worcester for treatment of a broken leg.
According to an affidavit prepared by Jaffrey police, Williams, the girl's mother, told police at the scene she was the driver of the SUV and it had a mechanical issue with the parking mechanism that caused the parking brake to disengage.
Williams said she developed a routine when she parked the SUV, first slowly releasing the brake, then rocking in the driver's seat to see if the movement caused the parking brake to disengage. After doing this, she would exit the vehicle. She told police it had rolled out of park in the past.
On Aug. 6, Christopher Williams, Heather's husband, removed their daughter from the vehicle and was in the process of removing their son when the vehicle began rolling backward. He told police he was unable to pull the girl out of the way because a door to the SUV was open and blocking him. He said she was "sucked under the rear passenger side tire."
Christopher Williams confirmed with police that the parking brake was defective. He explained the defect was due to a pin being loose in the shifting mechanism that locks the vehicle into park. He said at first that it had rolled from park in the past, but later changed his story, saying it had not happened previously, the affidavit states.
When the vehicle was towed by police, officers noticed things they said would prevent the SUV from passing a safety inspection, including missing components, exposed wiring, rusted portions of the exterior and a crack along the windshield. The vehicle's inspection sticker showed a date of July 17, 2017, but police said the sticker appeared worn despite being less than a month old.
Police found a work order dated July 18 from Swanzey Truck and Auto that indicated the SUV had a faulty shifting mechanism. The order said the mechanism needed to be replaced in order for the SUV to function properly.
Christopher Williams told police he works at the shop and that a co-worker had inspected the vehicle for him.
State police confirmed in August to Jaffrey police that the inspection was fraudulent. In September, State Police also confirmed the faulty parking mechanism and that when parked, the vehicle could be rolled 3 feet in either direction.
Based on the investigation Jaffrey police prepared a warrant to charge Heather Williams with vehicular assault.
Jaffrey police said State Police could file their own charges in relation to the faulty inspection sticker.
Heather Williams has an arraignment scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 9 in Jaffrey district court.