Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announced that Jessica Netherland, age 37, of 115 Zent Court, Cheektowaga, pleaded guilty, as charged, to Aggravated Driving While Ability Impaired By the Combined Influence of Drugs With a Child, before Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. This is the highest charge for which she could have been convicted had she gone to trial.
Netherland admitted that on January 9, 2012, after dropping off one of her two children at school, she rear-ended another vehicle on George Urban Blvd. and Union Road in Cheektowaga. When the police inquired about the identity of the seven-year old (the defendant’s other child) in her vehicle, Netherland responded “What kid in the car?” Netherland was administered six field sobriety tests and failed all of them. Toxicological analysis confirmed Netherland operated her vehicle, with her young children as passengers, while under the influence at least four different drugs, which included painkillers and tranquilizers.
Netherland was convicted of Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree in 1998 and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree in 1999 and 2001. She faces a maximum prison term of 1-1/3 to 4 years when sentenced on July 25, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. McCarthy.