A Massachusetts woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to motor vehicle homicide charges in a crash nearly two years ago in Revere that resulted in the deaths of two young sisters, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced.
During a Zoom hearing, Autumn Harris, 43, of Boston, changed her plea to guilty on two charges of negligent misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide, the district attorney's office said.
Harris was sentenced to 4.5 years in the Suffolk County House of Correction and four years probation. During the probation time, the judge ruled Harris will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle and must remain alcohol- and drug-free.
On Dec. 9, 2018, prosecutors said Harris was driving northbound on Revere Beach Parkway just after 5 p.m. when her Chevrolet Equinox left the roadway and went into the median, where the two victims, their mother, and another adult and child had been waiting to cross the street.
When police got to the scene, 5-year-old Adrianna Mejia-Rivera was pronounced dead, prosecutors said. Her 2-month-old sister, Natasha Nicole Mejia-Rivera, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she died from her injuries two days later, authorities said.
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The other victims sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Harris had told police she had consumed one beer earlier that day then took the sleep aid melatonin and a muscle relaxant to help her sleep the night before, according to prosecutors. She told police she may have "nodded off" while driving, authorities said.
State police that responded to the crash said they found an open can of Budweiser outside of Harris' SUV as well as a vape pen inside the vehicle.
State police said she failed a chemical breath test after the crash, but an analysis of blood drawn showed no signs of alcohol, according to a drug recognition expert.
"Two beautiful children are gone as a result of reckless behavior that could have been prevented. Ms. Harris may not have intended to cause harm, but she failed to show any concern for the foreseeable consequences of driving a nearly two-ton vehicle while incapacitated. Her choice was made with complete disregard for the lives and safety of others, and she is being held accountable for the harm she inflicted," Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.