Former Columbia officer pleads guilty in 4-year-old's death


NEW BLOOMFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former Columbia police officer charged after she hit and killed a 4-year-old girl with her police cruiser pleaded guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge in the case.

Andria Heese pleaded guilty to careless and imprudent driving in the Jan. 4, 2019, death of Gabriella Curry at Battlefield High School. She was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Heese was trying to park on the sidewalk to watch students getting onto school buses when she hit Gabriella, who was the daughter of a bus driver. The girl died at University Hospital.

Prosecutors asked for no more than 180 days in the Boone County Jail and two years of probation, KRCG reported. The state will release Heese from probation after one year if all of the conditions are met.

Gabriella's parents did not oppose the plea deal, according to court testimony.

Sentencing is set for July 9.

Gabriella's parents reached a $3.4 million settlement of wrongful death claims against the city and a $125,000 settlement with Columbia Public Schools in 2019.