Mountain Brook woman gets probation for drunken crash that took construction worker's leg

By Kent Faulk

A Mountain Brook woman recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation for assault and leaving the scene of a February 2015 accident where she struck a construction worker with her SUV - severing one of the man's legs and seriously mangling the other.

Attorneys also confirmed Friday that the woman has resolved civil claims, in an undisclosed settlement, with the injured construction worker.

Amanda Brown, 27, entered a blind plea on April 21 to charges of first-degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident with injury, court records show. A blind plea means there was no plea agreement with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail sentenced Brown to three years in prison for both charges, but suspended the sentence and placed her on two years of unsupervised probation on the condition that she continue mental health treatment.

"This was a blind plea," said Deputy Jefferson County District Attorney Joe Hicks. "Although the state requested the defendant (Brown) serve some time, the victim in the case asked the court to give the defendant probation."

Brown was charged in the Feb. 25, 2015 crash that severely injured Bobby Joe Smith, 48, of Munford, known to his friends as Rusty. Driving under the influence is an element of the assault charge.

Smith was injured when Brown hit him in her GMC Yukon while on her way home from a wedding with friends, pinning Smith between her SUV's bumper and the sharp edge of the bucket of a backhoe, according to police and court records. Witnesses told officers that after the wreck, Brown attempted to drive away. She then got out of the vehicle and walked to her apartment which wasn't too far from the accident scene. She admitted to police that she was under the influence when the crash happened, police said.

The crash happened in the 2600 block of Lane Park Road where a construction crew was working to install gas lines. Smith's right leg was severed, his left leg mangled, and he suffered internal injuries that included the loss of a portion of his colon, according to a lawsuit filed in the case.

Smith underwent multiple surgeries and medical treatments and has had rehabilitation to learn how to walk with prosthesis.

"We are very grateful to the Smiths for not opposing our request for probation, and for the Judge imposing the sentence that was imposed," said Brown's attorney, Tommy Spina.

Spina said that Ms. Brown's guilty plea represents her willingness to take responsibility for her behavior.

"Ms. Brown has been from the beginning deeply remorseful for the conduct that resulted in the injuries to Mr. Smith," Spina said.

Spina and an attorney for Smith, Todd Wheeles, said that any claims Smith had against Brown were settled confidentially. The focus now is on the lawsuit Smith filed against Magnolia River, a company that was supervising the construction project.

The lawsuit against Magnolia River claims that besides lighting towers, reflectorized cones, traffic barrels, and mobile traffic boards that flashed and warned motorists, Magnolia River had been having off-duty police officer working to control traffic in the area. But the night of the crash, a supervisor had told the off-duty police to go, the lawsuit states.

An attorney for Magnolia River had not responded to a request from AL.com for comment prior to publication of this story.

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