Sandusky mom, toddler narrowly dodge disaster

A fast-thinking Sandusky mom scooped up her 2-year-old daughter and avoided certain disaster Monday night when a suspected drunken driver nearly plowed them over on Fifth Street.
Emil Whitis
Jan 5, 2012

It was instinct.

Donna Hansen, 22, snatched her daughter out of the car seat and turned away. In that same instant came the horrible crunch, pop and shower of windshield glass.

By some miracle, Hansen still stood on the Fifth Street curb, cradling Dalilah. Gone was her Mercury Mountaineer — a speeding SUV had plowed it into the neighbor’s yard.

“She almost killed my daughter,” Hansen said of the driver, Jessica Ricci, 25.

Ricci was later charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, two counts of failure to control and leaving the scene of an accident.

At about 9:45 p.m. Monday, Hansen was getting ready to leave her mother’s house in the 1200 block of Fifth Street. She sat her daughter, Dalilah Shepherd, 2, in the back passenger seat and was about to put a diaper bag down when her peripheral vision caught some movement.

Hansen said she looked over and saw a Chevy Trailblazer aimed directly at her vehicle.

“I saw the lights and grabbed Dalilah and turned,” she said. “I felt everything behind me.”

“My whole back got sprayed with glass ... there was glass in my hair, sweatshirt, pants, socks,” she said.

Hansen said she stood there for a few seconds, unable to comprehend what had just happened.

The driver of the mangled Trailblazer, meanwhile, continued spinning the vehicle’s tires in an attempt to break free from the Mountaineer.

Seconds later she succeeded, but not before one of Hansen’s friends jotted down the license plate.

Hansen snapped to and called police, only to find she couldn’t speak.

“I’ve never been so scared,” she said. “I couldn’t breathe.”

The Trailblazer blundered along for eight blocks before it crashed into another car at the corner of Reese and Warren streets.

When police arrived, Ricci was still sitting in the driver’s seat, a police report said.

In the end, no one was injured.

But Hansen is haunted by “what if.”

“My daughter was less than a second away from being killed, and (Ricci) gets off with a DUI and failure to control?” Hansen said. “That’s just not enough.”

Hansen said she always places her daughter into the SUV by way of the driver’s side, but for some reason she went to the passenger side Monday.

Had Hansen kept with her habit, it wouldn’t have mattered that she grabbed her daughter. The Mountaineer would’ve plowed right over them, she said.

“I lost my father back in ’94,” she said. “I know he was guarding us at that moment.”

For her part, Dalilah now has a story she tells everyone she sees.

“Our car is broken,” the girl said. “It’s terrible.”

Comments

ReallyGood

WOW! Bless you and your little girl. Glad you are okay. I agree there needs to be a stiffer punishment for this drunken woman. DUI and failure to control doesn't seem enough at all

 

my oh my

I wonder if this is the daughter of Sandusky Fire Chief Paul Ricci...

old lady44870

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHOSE DAUGHTER IT IS.  THIS GIRL AND ALL PEOPLE DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE NEED STRONGER PUNISHMENT. I'VE CARE FOR THOSE PEOPLE DRIVING DRUNK, THEY DON'T GET KILLED.

THANK GOD THEY ARE OK.

my oh my

I wasnt meaning she should get special treatment here. I feel for all the innocent parties involved and the other people's vehicles destroyed on reese st and such....She should get the book thrown at her but with the weak DUI laws in Ohio that won't happen.

jordan_24

Thank God you two are alright....could have been a lot worse. Looks like someone is gonna be up for mother of the year award with this early submission*

Erie Countian

Yes, the driver is the daughter of Fire Chief Ricci. Used to be a good kid back in high school but guess she got in with the wrong crowd. I agree she should be punished more severely.

Most Wanted

Thank God the two of you are ok...I'm betting your dad was watching over you just like you said!  I'm also sorry for the family of the girl who was driving.  I hope she realizes what she did and that she just about wiped out two beautiful woman....both of whom have hardly begun their lives. 

here in ohio

ban alcohol  and close down the bars!!!!  this will stop the driving and drinking by 90% !!!!

shs1999

IM A CROSSING GAURD AT FIFTH AND ONTARIO AND IN THE MORNING WHEN I CROSS THE CHILDREN I WONDER IF SOMETIMES  IF THE CARS WILL STOP OR GO THROUGH MY STOP SIGN IM ALWAY SCARED THAT EITHER ME OR THE KIDS WILL GET HIT I THINK THE POLICE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT SPEEDERS OR SOMETHING BECAUSE I DONT THINK ITS RIGHT FOR THEM TO GET AWAY WITH IT . SORRY FOR WHAT HAPPEN TO THIS MOM AND HER  DAUGHTER I KNOW THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN THAT BLOCK KNOW HOW THESE PEOPLE JUST FLY DOWN FIFTH STREET MAYBE THE COMMISONERS SHOULD SEE WHAT I AND THE PEOPLE IN THAT AREA GO THROUGH AND MAYBE SOMETHING MIGHT GET DONE.

 

pinkperch

Thank Heaven Mother & Daughter were spared physical injury.  Kudos to Mom for her strong instincts & thumbs up to Daddy/Grandpa for watching out.  We are definitely protected & guided by those who love us - even if they have to cross through many planes to make good things happen for us.  Ms. Ricci has a whole lotta growing up to do.  She was spared having death on her conscience - be thankful for that.  Go to rehab/AA meetings.  Get help.     

Lakeerie08

Thank goodness she had her father watching over her and her daughter. Hope the driver gets help and realizes she could have killed 2 innocent people.

ScootBaby

I don't mean to make light of this, and I'm glad they're ok, but is the story here that something ALMOST happened? 

sandy2

Well, lets see.  A young mother has no car, a scared daughter, nighmares about the incident, a back full of glass need I go on?  What does it take to warrant something "happening"?

Phil Packer

Yeah, somebody almost died. And somebody will almost get in trouble for it.

FantasyFootballGuru

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SamAdams

I couldn't agree more that stiffer DUI penalties are needed whenever an incident beyond "mere" driving occurs. Hit a mailbox, it's a tougher deal than if you're simply pulled over. Hit a car (moving or otherwise), a still greater punishment. And a near miss like this one? More still.

I've never really cared one way or another if some idiot decides to get drunk and then drive. If they want to kill themselves, that's their business. The problem, obviously, is that lots of good, decent, innocent people are also on the road, and that makes it NOT just the business of the idiot in question. In fact, it makes it EVERYBODY's business at that point!

This mother and daughter are okay, but it could very easily have been a headline story about a mother and daughter who were killed or seriously injured. That it wasn't doesn't make the driver's actions any less reprehensible, and I think she ought to see some equally serious reperucssions.

ReallyGood

Lets not forget leaving the scene of an accident...she needs a whole heck of a lot more of a punishment. Buuuuut...it won't happen and its beyond frustrating.

Unassumer

Banning alcohol and closing bars will not eliminate drinking or drunk driving incidents.  Have you never heard of  Prohibition?  Didn't stop anyone from selling alcohol or drinking it.  People will always do bad things until they decide not to.  Taking away the substances will only prevent a few from partaking.  Making everything illegal is not the answer either.  Some people like to break laws and think they mean nothing.  So, get a clue ohio.

hookedonnews

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Katelih-Trailer...

Awww..What a cute lil girl...Glad she has a quick thinking Mother. 

Just Saying

Ms. Ricci should be relieved because she was spared having death on her conscience?? - Ms. Ricci should be relieved because she will be spared going to prison for manslaughter.

redroses

I wonder if she was coming from a home off of First Street?? Uuummmm... 

understatement

Does anyone here know how it feels to wake up everyday with a scar on your body from a drunk driver? Its in my head and its on my body...I can never escape it.  Glad this little girl is so young and hopefully wont remember this. I had fairly the same occurance in highschool but we were both in cars. He drove off. He sat in jail over night and lost his license for 6 months while I sat in the hospital for 3 days medical bills haunt me..not looking for a "I am sorry" just tellin everyone that there should be harsher punishments.

Statingthefacts

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Peppyspice01

 Do u know Jess? Do u know for a fact that she is a heavy drinker? And drives drunk reguaLarly?

And what the hell does her father being the fire chief have tiO do with her? And her actions nothing u think u know things butu don't so shut the hell up with all your slander

 

Statingthefacts

 Ok peppyspice01 so you think if she would have killed these people she should be forgiven? With how upset you are about people speaking the truth I'm willing to bet that you also drive while intoxicated. Putting innocent people in danger,especially children is more than a mistake! She needs help and needs to surround herself with honest people who will tell it like it is, not people who will baby her and tell her that it was just a "mistake". Just think of what else she might do if she isn't given the help and punishment she needs. 

Peppyspice01

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Peppyspice01

 To stating the facts ...... U r just mad ur statement was reported u had a slanderous statement but yet your name is "stating the facts" maybe u should get some facts to post instead of unsupported statements!!

ReallyGood

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Peppyspice01

 Ok this its about time someone gets on here that actually knows Jessie ricci!  She is like my sister she has made a mistake and it will haunt her forever!  Now I am sure all of u who have posted comments on this has never made a mistake!! Right??  Ya that's wha I thought you all talk about her like you know her and you don't!  Yes she is a nurse and a damn good one at that, she also works in a dr office!  Do u know for a fact that she goes to work with a hangover?  No u don't so shut your mouth and only state facts! She is s productive citizen in Ohio!  She comes from a very good family who does alot for this community! She has always been a great student! She made a mistake and I know she is never going to forget it! I don't think she needs the book thrown at her she should be punished certainly but not to the degree you greedy ppl are asking! Just because her dad is the police chief u want her to have the most severe punishment allowed?  I know alot of ppl who have done worse and just gets a slap on the wrist think about the ppl in your life do you know anyone Who has done something illegal and not gotten punished for it? As far as the stupid comment she drives drunk all the time?  R u with her while she is drinking and driving or are u just shooting your mouth of cause u r self riighteous? For all u idiots spouting off at the mouth about what's he must do or needs to do think about this....if u have kids did u raise them right? Did they ever make a mistake even if u raised them best way u knew how to?  And if the god forbid mistake was  as serious as this would u expect the book thrown at them in the manners u stupid ppl are demanding? No you wouldn't!! have some compassion! I've done stupid things in my life and  I'm thankful I've stayed clear of the law!  Sandusky is such a small town u crucifie everyone who has ever made a mistake!  You should all look in the mirror to make sure u can still say u r perfect!!  But none of u are!  And I am willing to bet half the ppl on this site commenting other story has a criminal record or a lowlife just trying to make ur self feel better! Get a job and a life! She is the day voter of someone she just some outcast! So unless u have facts that she is going to work drunk or hungover then stop spreading rumors and worry about yourself!  I am very thankful that the worst didn't happen for ll parties einvolved!

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