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Lodi mother who crashed into train appears in court

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Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:08 am, Thu Oct 13, 2011.

The woman who has been charged with attempting to murder her daughter by running her car into a train last week appeared in court for the first time Wednesday.

Lodi resident Christine Leach, 42, whose charges include attempted willful murder and child endangerment of her 5-year-old daughter, allegedly tried to drive her white Chevrolet Malibu into a Union Pacific train heading north on Friday.

In court Wednesday, Leach sat quietly in a red jumpsuit, chained at both her wrists and her ankles, as Judge Lauren Thomasson asked her if she understood her charges.

Attorney Gregory Davenport, representing Leach, said the incident appeared to be a tragic occurrence.

“It seems to be clear from the onset that (Leach) never intended to drive her vehicle into the train,” he said. “This is not a choice she consciously made.”

Leach did not look at the eight audience members who came to see her in court Wednesday.

Audience members included a small group from Leach’s church, First Baptist Church of Lodi, on North Mills Avenue.

No one from the audience wished to comment on Leach or on the charges brought against her.

Leach did not speak to anyone, except when she answered the judge’s questions.

On Friday, Leach was stopped behind the crossing bars on East Pine Street in her car, waiting for a Union Pacific train to pass.

According to a police report, Leach allegedly pulled out from a line of cars waiting on East Pine Street, stepped on the gas, and drove into the train.

Leach sustained no injuries in the accident, but her daughter was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center.

Although Leach asked Wednesday if she could be released from custody, Thomasson said she believed that not only was Leach possibly a flight risk, but that she was a danger to herself and to society.

Thomasson agreed to set Leach’s bail at $1 million, per the request of Deputy District Attorney Angela Hayes, the prosecutor in the case. Thomasson also signed a criminal protective order, which mandated that Leach remain at least 100 yards away from her child at all times.

Thomasson ordered that Leach remain in custody until her next court date, which is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. in Lodi.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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  • Kim Lee posted at 12:33 pm on Thu, Oct 13, 2011.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798

    I can't stop thinking about the little girl. I hope she gets the help she needs to get through this ordeal.

  • Laura Rouzer posted at 10:08 am on Thu, Oct 13, 2011.

    Laura Rouzer Posts: 55

    Let's see how many lame excuses they can come up with. Next we will be hearing about how the car made her do it. It's called personal responsibility.

  • Jay Samone posted at 7:48 am on Thu, Oct 13, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Sure would like a little clarification from the attorney. What exactly does this mean -

    “It seems to be clear from the onset that (Leach) never intended to drive her vehicle into the train,” he said. “This is not a choice she consciously made.”

    How do you UNconsciously drive your vehicle into a train? With your child in it? Drugs? Alcohol? If either of them (or both) are true, she has made PLENTY of conscious decisions that led up to the "accident". I hope her daughter is placed in a loving home, one free from substance abuse and mental health issues and grows up knowing that drugs and alcohol abuse ALWAYS result in tragic consequences.



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