MUNCIE, Ind. – Nearly nine years have passed since a 4-year-old girl died in a crash on I-69 in Delaware County.
Now, her grandmother plans to plead guilty in the 2014 case.
Donna Randolph appeared in court Tuesday for a change of plea hearing. Court officials said she plans to enter a guilty plea on a felony charge of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance.
If the judge accepts her plea deal, a reckless homicide charge would be dismissed. The proposed sentence is three years, with two years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction and one year suspended.
Police said Randolph was behind the wheel of her car on I-69 near Daleville in June 2014 when she stopped or slowed down in the northbound lane. A 2004 Dodge Ram slammed into the back of her 2002 Chrysler 300; investigators said the other driver couldn’t avoid the collision.
The impact sent Randolph’s car into a ditch. Her 4-year-old granddaughter, Tavionna Ford, died as a result of the crash. Police said the little girl had been wearing a seat belt but was not “in any sort of child restraint or booster seat,” as required by state law.
Several other people were injured in the crash. Randolph’s blood alcohol content was 0.04, according to court documents, and she had marijuana in her system. In court Monday, she admitted she’d smoked marijuana before the crash, according to the Star Press.
Police investigated the crash for nearly a year before charges were filed in May 2015. Randolph had been previously scheduled to change her plea in 2017, although the hearing ended up being pushed back multiple times before the plea agreement was withdrawn. Her trial date shifted multiple times due to delays.
According to court records, Randolph failed to appear for a hearing in May 2022, prompting the judge to issue an arrest warrant and cancel her June 2022 trial date. She was taken into custody in August. In November, the judge denied a motion to set bond and ordered her to be held without bond as she awaited trial.
Randolph has been convicted twice of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Marion County; the second conviction led to a prison sentence.
A judge will take her plea agreement under advisement. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 22.