Today, Catrice Cherrelle Pittman, 28 years old, was sentenced to 140 months in the Department of Corrections by the Honorable Judge Tracy Prall. Pittman previously entered pleas of guilty on February 24, 2017 to three counts of Assault in the Second Degree, two counts of Assault in the Third Degree and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
These charges are the result of an investigation by the Salem Police Department of a crash that occurred in the 1000 block of Commercial St NE at about 2:00 am on June 4, 2016. Responding officers discovered that a vehicle with seven occupants, two adults and five children, had left the roadway and struck a tree. The defendant, Catrice Pittman, was the mother of two of the children: a five-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl. The other adult was the mother of the three other children: a two year-old boy, a three year-old boy and a ten-year-old girl. All seven occupants were transported to the Salem Hospital for assessment and treatment.
Both officers and medical personnel observed signs and symptoms that were consistent with the defendant being under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the collision. Based on the investigation, officers determined that the defendant was on the downside effects of methamphetamine when she fell asleep while driving.
Investigators further determined that three of the children were improperly restrained in the car. While the defendant's son was in a booster seat and her daughter was using the lap/shoulder belt of the rear-center seat, all three of the adult passenger's children were improperly restrained, with all of them sharing the lap/shoulder belt of the rear-passenger seat. Because the ten-year-old was sitting with the two-year-old in her lap and the three-year-old by her side, the force of the older child's weight caused crushing injuries to the younger children during the collision.
The two-year-old boy was transported from Salem Hospital to Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) for emergency surgery related to life-threatening internal abdominal injuries. The three-year-old boy was also transported to OHSU for surgery related to spinal injuries that caused a serious risk of death or paralysis. The eight-year-old girl also underwent surgery at OHSU for a fractured femur and wrist. All three seriously injured children are recovering from the injuries caused by the reckless actions of the defendant. Additionally, the defendant had a broken nose, the adult passenger had a minor fracture to her left arm, and the five-year-old boy and ten-year-old girl had minor abrasions. The Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division was also involved in safety planning for all of the children.
In addition to the dangers of driving under the influence of intoxicants, this case highlights the critical injuries that can occur to children who are improperly restrained.
On Tuesday February 28, 2017, the honorable judge Susan Tripp accepted guilty pleas and sentenced Mauricio Aguilera-Garcia, 56, to three counts of Rape in the Second Degree, two counts of Sodomy in the Second Degree, and two counts of Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree, all committed against a child under the age of 14 years.
Aguilera-Garcia was nearly through the first day of a jury trial when he entered pleas of guilty rather than continue with the remaining scheduled two days of trial. The jury had only heard testimony from the victim, which included details of the multiple sexual assaults committed against her as a child. During that part of her childhood, the defendant was the victim's church pastor and a close family friend.
At sentencing, the State provided the Court with police reports detailing the facts surrounding Aguilera-Garcia's prior 1985 conviction for Sex Abuse in the First Degree against a child under the age of 12 years. The Court sentenced Aguilera-Garcia to 450 months in the Department of Corrections, pursuant to consecutive ballot measure 11 mandatory minimum sentences.