MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A father who drove drunk, crashed his car and then ditched his two injured children was sentenced Monday in a Ramsey County court.
A judge gave Earl Ward, 46, the maximum sentence for leaving his 14-year-old daughter and his 8-year-old son in his vehicle after he crashed it in a construction zone in St. Paul last July.
The girl, Amarya, suffered a fractured spine, which caused a loss of sensation below her shoulders. She also suffered a subdural hematoma and a fractured tooth.
The boy, Almond, suffered a fractured femur, which protruded from his left leg. His femoral artery was also severed and required surgery.
The following day, Ward was arrested after police received a tip that he was at his sister’s residence in St. Paul. When police responded, they found Ward asleep in a parked car in a parking lot. His breath had a strong smell of alcohol, and his lip was swollen and bloody. He refused an interview with officers after his arrest for violation of a no contact order and a felony warrant for domestic assault.
Ward later pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular operation with great bodily harm and to violating a domestic abuse no contact order.
On Monday, victim statements from the kids’ mother, grandmother and uncle were read in court. All asked for the maximum possible time behind bars and said they fear for their family’s lives if he were to be released.
“She just got straight A’s this term,” Amarya’s grandmother Elsa Svenningsen said. “She’s such a smart young lady, so strong and positive. We just keep fighting for her.”
Ward interrupted the family’s statements multiple times, until the judge stepped in, saying he would have him bound and gagged if he was not quiet.
When it was his time to speak, he was extremely emotional, stopping several times to cry.
Nearly a dozen family members were there to support Almond and Amarya, who was sick and unable to be in court.
Ward was sentenced to ten years in prison, the maximum he could get under the guidelines. At least six years will be served in prison.