Tina Marie Jones

PRINCETON — A woman whose 6-year-old son was severely injured in a March 2018 head-on crash faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday in circuit court to child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury.

Tina Marie Jones, 38, of Princeton, whose trial was scheduled for Oct. 1, came before Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope for a status hearing. Her attorney, John Byrd, informed the court that his client was entering into a plea agreement. The June 2019 Mercer County Grand Jury had indicted her on one count of child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury.

Jones was charged after a March 7, 2018 head-on crash on Airport Road severely injured her 6-year-old son and injured four other adults. Senior Trooper J.R. Tupper with the West Virginia State Police Princeton Detachment told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the vehicles collided west of the Mercer County Airport’s entrance.

According to witnesses, the mini-van Jones was driving crossed the center line and hit a Ford F-150 pick-up truck head-on, Tupper said at the time. The child, who was in the mini-van, was not in a child safety seat.

Emergency dispatch initially reported the child was not breathing and CPR was being administered, but Tupper stated then that the child was breathing when he arrived on the scene shortly after the crash. Jones had to be extricated from the vehicle and she sustained serious injuries.

The truck’s driver was also injured, but did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, Tupper said at the time. Two adult males riding in the van also had injuries that did not seem life threatening.

Assistant Prosecutor Lauren Lynch told Swope during Wednesday’s hearing that the boy, who has recovered, had head trauma, facial fractures, and leg injuries. Jones, who was driving at the time, was not DUI; however, she was driving while suspended.

After Swope questioned Jones and informed her that child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury was a felony with an indeterminate term of one to 10 years in a state penitentiary, Jones pleaded guilty. Swope said she would have to serve at least one year in prison and could be required to serve 10 years. With good behavior, she could discharge the sentence in five years.

Swope tentatively accepted the plea pending the results of a pre-sentencing investigation. Jones remained free on bond Wednesday. A sentencing hearing was set for late October.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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