A Smithville mother who killed her five-year-old daughter in a DWI crash has been sentenced to nine years in prison. Samantha Jones, 32, received the sentence on July 12 after pleading guilty in May to driving while intoxicated, resulting in the death of Macklyn Lucas.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, "This defendant owed her highest duty of care to her five-year-old daughter. But instead of protecting her, the defendant chose to drive with a blood alcohol content more the twice the legal limit. It's not a mitigating circumstance when a mother kills her own child by driving drunk; it's an aggravating factor when a defendant places her own child in harm's way."
Jones had left a gathering in Camden Point at about 9:00 p.m. on June 18, 2018. Shortly after leaving, she lost control of her car on E Hwy near Skinner Lake Road. The car's rear passenger side door hit a telephone pole, breaking the pole into two pieces.
Jones' daughter, Macklyn Lucas, was belted into a car seat on the rear passenger side. She suffered a traumatic head injury in the crash and died less than three days later at Children's Mercy Hospital.
Jones admitted to drinking as much as two bottles of wine in about 3 1/2 hours. About 45 minutes before leaving the party, Jones posted photos of full wine glasses and a photo with her daughter on her social media accounts. The photos were posted with the hashtag, #momsneeddrinks.
Jones' blood alcohol level was .186 roughly two hours after the crash, more than twice the legal limit of .08.
During his sentencing argument, Zahnd responded to Jones' social media posts. "The defendant said moms need drinks. I will say this: Moms need to put their kids first. Moms need to protect their children. Moms need to obey the law. Moms must not get behind the wheel of a car after they’ve had drinks."
Dozens of people supporting Jones attended the hearing, and Jones' attorney read portions of letters from several people. The letter writers asserted Jones should not receive a prison sentence because she killed her own daughter and would punish herself more than prison ever could.
Zahnd said he did not doubt that Jones was anguished by the death of her daughter, but he asserted her crime deserved prison time. "If we treat DWI cases—especially those where someone has been killed—with a slap of the wrist, there is little left to deter would-be drunk drivers from taking the risk of driving home when they’ve been drinking."
Zahnd asked the court to impose a 14-year prison sentence. The defendant's attorney sought probation. Circuit Judge Thomas Fincham sentenced Jones to nine years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Platte County Sheriff's Department. It was personally prosecuted by Zahnd and assistant prosecuting attorneys Amy Ashelford and Max Pepper.
A photo of Jones and her social media post are above. If you need additional information, contact our office's media liaison, Tanya Faherty.
Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
415 Third Street, Suite 60
Platte City, Missouri 64079