Police: Atlanta teen kills woman while text-messaging her suicide by car

Friday, October 20th 2006, 11:04 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ A lovesick teenage girl drove into an oncoming car in a suicide attempt that she counted down ``8, 7, 6...'' in a text message to the female classmate who spurned her, authorities said. The teenager survived but a woman in the other car _ a mother of three _ died.

Louise Egan Brunstad, 16, was charged Thursday with felony murder. Prosecutors said they intend to try her as an adult. If convicted, she faces an automatic life sentence.

``She was actually counting down her imminent threat: 'Nine, eight, seven, six ... I'm going to do it,''' said Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

Authorities said Brunstad rammed her family's Mercedes-Benz head-on into a smaller Daewoo driven by 30-year-old Nancy Salado-Mayo, who was killed. Salado-Mayo's middle child, Lesly, 6, was in a child safety seat and was treated for fractured ribs and other injuries.

Brunstad, who was treated for an ankle injury, had told friends she planned to kill herself after another female student at Holy Innocents Episcopal School refused to have sex with her, Howard said.

Witnesses told police the girl never slowed as she crossed over a turning lane and into oncoming traffic on busy Roswell Road in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood on Oct. 4.

``She was traveling at a high rate of speed,'' Howard said. ``This is an intentional action.''

The girl's attorney, Drew Findling, declined to discuss the allegations but expressed the family's sadness over the accident.

``This young lady and her parents are devastated by this horrible accident and by the death of Mrs. Salado-Mayo and the injuries of her daughter,'' Findling said. ``They are praying for the quick and healthy recovery of her daughter and for the well-being of her husband and other children.''

After a memorial service in Atlanta, Salado-Mayo's body was returned to her native Mexico for burial. Her husband, Mario Bibiano, a steel worker, was unable to attend the funeral because he remained by his daughter's bedside at an Atlanta hospital.

Brunstad was on crutches in court Thursday for a brief hearing on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. Howard said she is being held at a mental health facility, and is wearing an electronic monitor around her ankle to prevent her from running away.