MILWAUKEE (AP) — The 20-year-old woman facing several criminal charges in a Milwaukee crash last weekend that killed five people, including a 1-year-old girl, wasn’t familiar with the minivan she was driving, her attorney said.
A Milwaukee County court on Friday set a $500,000 bond for Anteyona Sandifer of Milwaukee on charges stemming from the crash about 11:50 p.m. on May 14. Prosecutors have filed felony counts against Sandifer that include second-degree reckless homicide and driving a vehicle without a license and causing death.
Police say the minivan was speeding when it went through a red light and collided with another vehicle and a traffic signal pole. Minivan passengers killed in the crash were a 1-year-old girl, two 15-year-old girls, a 17-year-old boy and a 32-year-old man.
Assistant District Attorney Arthur Thexton faulted Sandifer for not making sure the teenagers were wearing seatbelts and the 1-year-old girl was in a safety seat.
“If she was paying attention to her driving, she wouldn’t have been doing 30 to 35 miles an hour over the limit and running the red light,” Thexton said.
Defense attorney Elizabeth Ellsworth-Kasch said Sandifer never had the chance to get a driver’s license because schools don’t offer driver’s education programs. She also said the young child’s mother didn’t provide a car seat.
“She was not aware of how this minivan, this three-row minivan, was set up at the time. She was busy paying attention to the road,” Ellsworth-Kasch said.
Ellsworth-Kasch unsuccessfully argued for a lower bail amount so that Sandifer could be with her family as one of the 15-year-old girls killed in the crash was her sister.