January 25, 2012

Betty Jo Tagerson - Convicted On All Counts After Driving Into Group Of Triplets, Killing One

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New Port Richey, Fla. (The Weekly Vice) - In March of this year, we reported the arrest of Betty Jo Tagerson, a 39-year-old woman who crashed her vehicle into a group of young girls after peeling out of her driveway in a fit of anger. The accident killed one girl, injured her two triplet sisters and another girl who was playing in the front yard.

In November, 2010, Tagerson climbed into her Jeep Grand Cherokee and rapidly drove away after she and her boyfriend became engaged in a heated argument. Within moments, Tagerson's vehicle reached speeds of up to 44 mph, causing her to lose control of the vehicle. Tagerson then crash her jeep into a group of triplets who were playing with a friend in her front yard.

Two of the girls, 5-year-old triplets Delaney and Gabrielle Rossman, were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Third triplet Isabella Rossman and her friend Marissa Manuli, were treated for non-life threatening injuries. All girls survived their injuries except for Delaney, who died the next day.

Detectives studied the case for four months before finally arresting Tagerson on charges of vehicular homicide and reckless driving. At the time of the accident, Tagerson was already facing charges on allegations that she stole $19,000 from a doctor's office where she was employed as an office manager.

Earlier this week, the surviving triplets testified in court, describing the events that fatally injured their sister, Delaney.

The girls, who are now 7-years-old, delivered emotional testimonies, as Tagerson wept. At one point jurors were asked to leave so that Tagerson could compose herself.

"I remember I saw her laying down in the grass," Isabella told the jury on Tuesday. "She wouldn't breathe, but I remember somebody helping her trying to breath, but she still wouldn't breathe."

Tagerson's attorney argued that his client blacked out moments before the crash and that Tagerson shouldn't be held responsible for losing control of her vehicle. A radiologist, however, stated that results of a CT scan didn't show a lack of oxygen in Tagerson's brain when she was admitted to the hospital that night.

On Wednesday, a six-member jury convicted Tagerson on charges of vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter and two counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury. Tagerson, who is scheduled to be sentenced in February, faces up to 25 years in prison.

Read our initial story here.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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