Missouri Woman Faces Charges After Leaving Kids in Burning Car

Widowed Mother Faces Years in Prison If Convicted

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Davona Ann Lady, 35, faces charges of child endangerment and driving while intoxicated after an incident at a major intersection in Springfield, Mo. According to the Springfield News-Leader , the woman was driving a car with three children inside the vehicle Saturday night. Somehow, the green Dodge Intrepid caught fire before Lady pulled into the parking lot of a nearby hotel. At that point, fire crews arrived before calling Springfield police to arrest the woman who was found later.

* City of Springfield spokesperson Cora Scott told the news media outlet the interior of the car began to fill with smoke while the car was at the traffic signal at Sunshine and Glenstone in Springfield. Lady then pulled into the hotel parking lot before leaving the vehicle at some point.

* A police report obtained by the newspaper believes the woman was impaired on drugs at the time of the incident. Lady was booked by authorities but then released sometime early Sunday morning.

* Hotel security told the News-Leader the inside of the car was obscured so much by smoke that personnel didn't realize people were in the vehicle. The fire started under the car's hood, eventually filling the cabin with smoke. Hotel employees opened the car doors to let the children out after Lady abandoned the vehicle at some point.

* Three children, ranging in age from 8 to 10, were in the car. The kids were treated for sore throats and difficulty breathing before their release to a grandparent at the scene.

* Employees told authorities Lady was upstairs in her hotel room. That was when the Springfield Fire Department notified police of the situation and had the woman arrested.

* Endangering the welfare of a child is a class C felony in Missouri. Driving while intoxicated, which covers the influence of drugs, is a class B misdemeanor . If found guilty of these pending charges, Lady faces up to 7 1/2 years in prison . In the case of lower-class felonies, courts can impose lighter sentences in county jail facilities in place of longer sentences.

* Lady's husband died in January 2012 at the age of 38. Ray Lady III left behind five sons and his wife of 10 years. A family photo on the obituary site Dignity Memorial shows Lady, her late husband and three boys. An infant daughter preceded him in death.

* A search of Missouri Case Net court records determined Lady has no criminal past in the state. Charges and court proceedings have yet to be filed in her case by Greene County prosecutors.

William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

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