Pittsfield woman who crashed with kids in car allegedly high on PCP

This story has been amended to indicate that a show cause hearing was held prior to the defendant's arraignment.

PITTSFIELD -- A city woman who was allegedly high on PCP when she crashed her van with three children inside is free on her own recognizance after pleading not guilty to seven charges.

Tabatha Leggette, 29, of Cherry Street, was traveling at a high rate of speed high on phencyclidine at about 10:30 a.m. July 29 when she hit and uprooted a stop sign at the intersection of Elberon and Somerset avenues in Pittsfield, according to police and prosecutors. The vehicle kept going and smashed into an unoccupied Mercury Sable that was parked on Elberon Avenue.

Emergency workers and police on the scene said Leggette was rolling around on the grass near the scene of the crash, thrashing her arms and legs and screaming "Duck Dynasty," the name of a cable reality television show, according to the police report.

Leggette and her three children, ages 13, 10 and 6, were taken to Berkshire Medical Center for observation.

Police said there was heavy front end damage to Leggette's 2001 Honda Odyssey van and both airbags had deployed. The Mercury also had heavy front-end damage.

According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Dana Parsons, two bags of what police believe is PCP along with a smoking device were confiscated from the van.

Leggette told an emergency worker she had smoked PCP prior to the crash, police said.

The three children were unharmed but "appeared to be shaken up by the crash," according to the police report.

Leggette allegedly told police she had no memory of the crash and that she believed a cigarette she bummed from a man she didn't know on Columbus Avenue was laced with the drug.

Blood and urine samples were taken at the hospital. Parsons said her office hadn't yet received the results of tests related to the samples.

Leggette was arraigned on charges that include drugged driving, multiple counts of child endangerment while driving under the influence of drugs, possession of a class B substance and driving related infractions. The arraignment followed an earlier show cause hearing in the case.

The child endangerment charges carry a mandatory minimum 90 day jail sentence and up to 2 1/2 years in jail upon conviction. That time must be served from and after any sentence on a drugged driving conviction which also carries a maximum 2 1/2 year jail sentence.

Parsons, citing the nature of the allegations and Leggette's criminal record in two states, asked for $1,000 bail.

Leggette's attorney, Marc C. Vincelette Sr., told the court his client's license has since been revoked by the state Registry of Motor Vehicles and that she is in drug counseling and Narcotics Anonymous. Her children, he said, are currently in the custody of the state Department of Children & Families.

Concerning the need for cash bail, the defense attorney pointed out that his client had shown up for court on her own.

Judge Thomas H. Estes released Leggette on personal recognizance with conditions that include no alcohol or illegal drugs with random screens and that she continue drug treatment and attending NA.

She is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on October 21.

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