Charges Filed In Death Of Pregnant Woman

Tuesday, September 25th 2007, 4:31 pm
By: News On 6

A suspected drunk driver is now charged in the death of Sandi Stephens and her unborn child. Sandi Stephens was due to give birth this week. She was killed Memorial Day weekend, when she was six months pregnant. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports the Tulsa County District Attorney recently charged the man who hit her with two counts of manslaughter.

The prosecutor tells The News On 6 he could not remember the office ever filing manslaughter charges in the death of a fetus before. Sandi's father certainly feels it's justified, because he says he lost his daughter and his grandchild that day.

Sandi Stephens was a cheerleader and played softball in high school. She got a job, fell in love and was going to become a wife and mother.

Stephens and her fiancé had gone to a family barbeque the evening before Memorial Day, because her brother was leaving for Iraq. While there she gave her father an ultrasound picture of her baby. A few hours later, her father got the knock all parents dread.

"They said there'd been an accident, Sandi's car had run off the road and turned over into a little gulley and she was fine. She got out of the car and went up to the road to flag down, to get some help and a guy came across the lanes of traffic and hit her, killed her instantly," said Sandi’s father Dewayne Stephens.

Police say Melvin Stanley was the driver of that car. He was booked into jail, bonded out a few hours later and now faces two counts of manslaughter, possession of drugs and driving with a suspended license. Records show he has previous drug and forgery convictions.

"We don't want this guy to cause this kind of grief and havoc on a family again,” Stephens said. “It's ridiculous. He's been in jail numerous times, arrested numerous times and apparently knows how to work the system and it's time it comes to a halt."

Prosecutors say a 2006 change to the state's homicide law allows them to file charges when a fetus is killed. Sandi's family is glad for the law change, but is still barely coping with her loss.

"Not that she didn't have a great relationship with her mother, but she was daddy's girl," said Dewayne Stephens.

Manslaughter convictions would carry a penalty of four years to life.

Melvin Stanley's next court date is in October. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says Stanley’s driving was not erratic the night of the accident, the shoulder was very narrow and it was pitch black since it was 2:30 a.m. He says Stanley feels terrible about the accident.

Watch the video: Manslaughter Charges Filed In Death Of Woman, Unborn Baby

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