A Douglasville woman pleaded guilty to a vehicular homicide charge Tuesday in the death of a 17-year-old girl who was struck and killed just after she stepped off a school bus.
Shirley McManners entered her guilty plea in Douglas County court, Channel 2 Action News reported. She had been charged in the death last December of Brandy Hart.
Outside the Douglas County courthouse, McManners told Channel 2 Action News, “I am sorry that that happened to your daughter, and I take full responsibility, that I didn’t mean to (cause her death).”
The accident happened about 7 p.m. Dec. 6 on Cedar Mountain Road near Dorris Road in Douglas County, police said. Hart had exited the bus and was crossing the road when she was hit by a vehicle driven by McManners. The teen was transported to WellStar Douglas General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The school bus was stopped with its red lights activated at the time of the incident, police said.
McManners told the court Tuesday that it was dark and raining and visibility was poor. She said she didn’t see the bus or realize she had hit anyone until she was stopped 300 feet from the accident scene.
District Attorney David McDade, however, produced photos from the wreck showing the stopped bus with its flashing lights and a cracked windshield on McManners’ car.
McManners could faces up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 13.
Hart’s mother, Mary Hart Springer, and other family members also spoke to Channel 2 outside the courthouse.
“I would like to say that Brandy is missed, very missed,” Springer said.
Erica Billings, the victim’s sister, said, “We’re still grieving, and today made it feel like it was just yesterday when she was killed. … Nothing can ever bring our sister back and bring my mom her child back. Nothing is worth the pain we have been through.”
Family members said they would try to keep the teen’s memory alive by working the state legislators to pass tougher laws against motorists passing stopped school buses.
— Staff writers Angel K. Brooks and Mike Morris contributed to this article.