Springfield woman pleads guilty to charges of child endangering

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Indicted in connection to bringing unresponsive toddler with ‘severe head trauma’ to ER.

A Springfield woman pleaded guilty to the charge of child endangering after bringing an unresponsive child with “severe head trauma” to Springfield Regional Medical Center last year.

Ashleigh Smith, 31, entered a guilty plea to charges of child endangering in the Clark County Common Pleas Court on Oct. 21, according to court records. She was sentenced before Judge Richard O’Neill to a prison term of seven to 10.5 years.

Smith and the child’s uncle, Timothy Carter 33, were indicted on the charges last December. Carter entered a guilty plea Sept. 27 to the charges of obstructing justice and child endangering, and his criminal disposition was held Oct. 13.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, the two brought an unresponsive child into the hospital Oct. 28 last year.

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The pair told doctors the 3-year-old girl “fell and hit her head,” but doctors said those statements were not “consistent” with the injuries, according to the affidavit.

“We were advised the uncle, Timothy Carter, and aunt, Ashleigh Smith, brought (the child) in. Tim has custody of the child,” the affidavit said. “The child was stabilized and transported to Dayton Children’s Hospital by CareFlight.”

Carter and Smith said the girl was “running around with two younger children in the house and fell and hit her head on the coffee table in the living room’' and neither adult saw the child fall, according to the affidavit.

“They checked (the child) out and she was okay. After it happened she sat on the couch, ate and watched television. About an hour and a half later they laid her down for a nap and checked on her every 30-45 minutes,” the affidavit said. “She was fine when they checked on her and even asked for water.”

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Carter then reportedly left for work and received a call from Smith saying something was wrong with the girl, the affidavit said. They then took her to Springfield Regional Medical Center.

Clark County Sheriff’s deputies interviewed the child’s doctor at Dayton Children’s concerning “the severe head trauma” the child had when brought into the ER.

“I was advised the statements are not consistent with the ability to eat and drink water as reported by Ashleigh and Tim,” the affidavit said. “He advised (the child) would have shown symptoms immediately.”

Karen and Rob Whitaker, grandparents of the child, told the News-Sun she was recovering well. The child recently celebrated her fourth birthday.

Both grandparents voiced that they wished the sentencing, although close to the maximum for the charge of child endangering, was longer.

“There’s no sentencing that could bring [the child] back to her normal self,” Karen said.

Smith and Carter were not listed as inmates in the Clark County Jail as of Thursday.

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