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Mother Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment, DUI for Wreck That Injured Toddler Son

Kate Hatrey Walters, 24, of Santa Barbara is sentenced to four years of probation and must seek treatment at a residential facility

A Santa Barbara woman has pleaded guilty to DUI and child-endangerment charges after she crashed a vehicle into a lamppost, severely injuring her 3-year-old child last May.

Kate Hatrey Walters
Kate Hatrey Walters

Kate Hatrey Walters, 24, was arrested May 20, 2013, after crashing a friend’s vehicle, which injured both women as well as the boy, Sgt. Riley Harwood told Noozhawk at the time.

She was sentenced Monday to DUI with injury and admitted a special allegation of great bodily injury.

Walters also pleaded guilty to the child abuse charge, according to Arnie Tolks, senior deputy district attorney with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

She was placed on four years of probation, with various terms and conditions, including going to a residential facility and taking her medications, Tolks said.

"She no longer has custody of her son," Tolks said, adding that he objected to the probation recommendation.

The incident began when officers responded at about 7 p.m. May 20 to a call of a disturbance involving intoxicated subjects outside of Harry’s Plaza Café, 3313 State St., and the investigation revealed that the women had driven from the area, and were involved in a traffic collision near the intersection of State Street and Broadmoor Plaza.

At the scene, police said they encountered Walters, heavily intoxicated and distraught, seated to the rear of the car she had been driving.

Her injured son was being cradled in the arms of a citizen , and the boy was bleeding from abrasions to his neck. He suffered multiple injuries, including a broken neck.

Another woman owned the vehicle, but Walters had been driving at the time, Harwood said, adding that Walters started drinking heavily earlier in the day and had gone to Harry’s at 5 p.m. with the friend, taking her son with her.

The women continued to drink at the restaurant until they became argumentative with staff, who asked them to leave and called police. Before officers could arrive, the women got in the car with the child.

Walters nearly collided with two other parked cars in the Loreto Plaza parking lot, prompting another witness to call the police while a restaurant employee took note of the description of the involved vehicle and its license plate number for the responding officers, Harwood said.

After exiting the parking lot, Walters drove two blocks westbound on State Street until she reached the intersection with Toyon Drive, Harwood said, where she collided with a lamppost.

The force of the collision caused the airbags in the vehicle to deploy, and an inspection of the vehicle revealed that the child seat used by Walters’ son had not been properly installed.

Walters has been in jail since her arrest, Tolks said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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