Woman pleads guilty to crash that killed 1-year-old girl in Carolina Beach
July 15, 2020 at 10:39 AM EDT – Updated July 15 at 12:48 PM
CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – The driver of a Jeep that struck and killed a 1-year-old girl in March of 2019 in Carolina Beach has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in a conditional discharge guilty plea.
Heather Ligotino struck the child and her grandmother, Catherine Hagelstein, while they were crossing at the intersection of South Lake Park Boulevard and Cape Fear Boulevard. About a week after the tragic accident, Ligotino was charged with the misdemeanor count of death by motor vehicle.
Because it is a conditional discharge plea, judgment is not entered at the time of the plea. This means that if Ligotino completes 12 months of unsupervised probation and 150 hours of community service, the judge will dismiss the case. If she violates the term of her probation, she will be sentenced, according to New Hanover County District Attorney Assistant Samantha Dooies.
No drugs or alcohol were suspected in the accident police said during the investigation.
After the incident town officials took their concerns to the North Carolina Department of Transportation and requested permission to lower the speed limit along South Lake Park Boulevard. In January of this year — the Town Council was granted that permission and approved a resolution reducing the speed limit to 25 m.p.h. on the road.
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