KALISPELL — A Montana woman has been given a six-year deferred prison sentence over striking a 6-year-old girl with her car after the girl got off a school bus near Whitefish in November 2019.
Patricia Ann Berliner, 67, of Eureka, entered an Alford plea to felony child endangerment in March for hitting Jordana Hubble.
Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction. It is treated like a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.
District Court Judge Dan Wilson sentenced Berliner on Thursday, also ordering her to perform 100 hours of community service, the Daily Inter Lake reported.
Investigators said Berliner was driving between 25 and 40 mph when she failed to stop for a school bus and struck Hubble, throwing her 60 feet. The girl landed in a ditch.
Jordana suffered a traumatic brain injury. She spent two months in Montana Children's Hospital in Kalispell and seven months in a Houston hospital, Veronica "Vo" Hubble said of her daughter.
"She had a collapsed lung, pneumonia, infections, she had to be fed by a tube in her stomach and she still takes her medications through a tube in her stomach," Hubble said.
"She hates the medicine procedure every day and she's said she hates her life," Hubble told Berliner. "I don't hate you, but I don't forgive you for changing my daughter's life forever."
Jordana is walking and talking now, but "it's not what you expect from an 8-year-old," Hubble said.