Columbia Police Officer Pleads Guilty
(MO) – On June 8, Andria Heese pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge in the death of 4-year old Gabriella Curry. Heese, with the Columbia Police Department, had originally been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter. Special Prosecutor Kevin Hillman did not feel he could successfully convince a Grand Jury to return an involuntary manslaughter charge. Hillman reduced the felony charge down to the Misdemeanor A charge of Careless and Imprudent Driving.
However, according to the ABC 17 news report (see video below),
Now, Heese’s lawyer actually asked for a suspension of the execution of the sentence, meaning Heese would be placed on probation for two years.
Prosecutors would not object to Heese being released from probation after one year if all terms and conditions are met, her lawyer told KOMU.
If both those things happen, Andria Heese will only get one year of probation for killing a 4-year old child.
Police Jump to Protect Heese
State Trooper Gentry Pemberton arrived to investigate the scene while it was still active. He was able to observe Officer Heese performing chest compressions on the child before EMS took over. Trooper Pemberton interviewed other witnesses while waiting to interview Heese. Columbia police officers knew one of their own was in trouble. They would not be the ones to investigate due to the appearance of a conflict of interest. Her fellow officers did the next best thing thing. They rushed Heese away from the scene behind the back of the investigating officer.
“He then returned to find Heese and was informed by Jones she was transported to police headquarters by a fellow officer and a Fraternal Order of Police attorney was with her.” The Columbia police officers had whisked Heese away before she could be interviewed.
When Trooper Pemberton got to the police station, the police union lawyer told him that “Heese would agree to the breathalyzer, but would not provide a statement or answer any questions about the incident.”
Officer Heese Runs Over Child
In 2019, Officer Heese was “working the traffic detail at Battle High School.” Bus drivers are allowed to take their children with them to save on child care costs. Gabriella was on the sidewalk while she waited for school to end and the children to fill the bus.
Officer Heese drove her police vehicle onto the sidewalk, to have a better view, and ran over little Gabriella Curry. According to a witness,
“She wasn’t speeding, she wasn’t going fast, I don’t know how she didn’t see the little girl,” the witness told Pemberton. “She drives up on the curb where they park all the time. I was thinking ‘oh my God, please see this little girl playing.’ She turned, I thought she was going to put on her brakes or see the little girl. The little girl just disappeared.”
The negligence in the action is astounding. She’s at a school. There are school buses everywhere. Is anyone surprised that a child might be around? Cars do not belong on the sidewalk. The witness said the officers do it all the time. I’m saying they should never have been doing that. Would they have thought it was okay for a parent to drive up onto the sidewalk to get a better view?
We can’t get Gabriella back, but Adriana Heese should do at least the 160 days in jail. There should be some penalty for negligence so severe that it cost a life.