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DUI crash that injured children leads to jail time

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona woman reported Friday to Blair County Prison to begin serving a sentence of two to five years’ incarceration for a DUI crash in October 2020 that injured two children.

Jennifer L. Lansberry, 37, who recently pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, two counts of endangering the welfare of children and related offenses, returned to court Friday for a restitution hearing before beginning her jail sentence.

Because one of the injured children was flown by helicopter to Pittsburgh and treated for a fractured skull and brain bleed, Lansberry’s restitution was expected to be substantial. Police described the other child’s injuries as minor.

Without documentation of the medical bills, President Judge Elizabeth Doyle said she would only direct Lansberry to cover the victims’ out-of-pocket losses for bills that aren’t covered by insurance or offset for other reasons.

Defense attorney Russ Montgomery told Doyle that Lansberry’s insurance provider could pay as much as $30,000 for the victims’ medical expenses.

Assistant District Attorney Justin Shickman told Doyle that he suspects the medical bills in this case could exceed $1 million. He said he spoke with the mother of the children who said that neither she nor her children are covered by health insurance.

He said the mother also spoke of being charged for two medical helicopter flights, at $75,000 each, and of filing for bankruptcy in light of the other bills.

The mother did not attend Friday’s restitution hearing.

Altoona police arrested Lansberry on Oct. 17, 2020, after being dispatched to the 3000 block of Beale Avenue where she ran into a utility pole. The two children, both 7 years old, had been in the back seat of the vehicle.

Police said Lansberry, at the scene, appeared to be impaired and smelled of alcohol.

Lansberry also couldn’t explain how her car hit the pole. After police found a vape pen in the vehicle, she told them she had a medical marijuana card.

Lansberry will be eligible for the state’s Drug Treatment Program based on the sentence imposed.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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