A mother has pleaded guilty to driving drunk in a Carteret County wreck that injured her four young children. According to investigators, the woman's 5-year-old daughter was critically hurt and her 3-year-old son was ejected from the vehicle.
District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that 28-year-old Tonya Marie Gillikin, of Swansboro, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of felony serious injury by motor vehicle. She was sentenced to between 1 year and 2 months to 2 years and 2 months in prison.
Investigators said Gillikin was driving her minivan on Highway 24 in Cape Carteret at about 7 p.m. on April 3. In the vehicle with Gillikin were her boyfriend and four children.
But Gillikin went left of center and hit a curb, flipping her van over, police said. Two of Gillikin's children, her 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter, were taken to Vidant Medical Center in critical condition.
Gillikin's other two children, her 15-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son, were taken to Carteret General Hospital.
Officers at the scene said Gillikin's 3-year-old son was buckled in his car seat, but the car seat was not attached to the seat of the minivan. As a result, the child was ejected and was trapped underneath the vehicle. Highway Patrol troopers, Cape Carteret officers and pedestrians had to lift the van to rescue the 3-year-old boy.
A blood test showed that Gillikin had a BAC of .09 and marijuana in her system.
All costs, attorney's fees and laboratory fees were entered as a judgment against Gillikin, said Thomas.
Gillikin's four children are now in the care of family members and the Department of Social Services.