SIERRA VISTA — The driver in a single-vehicle rollover crash that left a toddler and a veteran sheriff’s deputy injured this past fall pleaded guilty on Monday and now faces up to 3 1/2 years in prison, the woman’s attorney said.
Davonnte Samone Payne will be sentenced on Feb. 21 by Cochise County Superior Court Judge Timothy Dickerson. If the judge accepts Payne’s plea deal, she will be sent to prison, said her attorney Harley Kurlander.
“She will have to go to prison for at least two years,” Kurlander said in a phone interview. “That’s the minimum. But she could face up to 3 1/2 years.”
The 27-year-old Payne was driving in excess of 90 miles per hour on Oct. 3 when she lost control of her car, causing it to flip over four times and plummet down a steep hill off Buffalo Soldier Trail and State Highway 90, Sierra Vista Police said. Alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in the wreck, investigators said.
Cochise County Sheriff’s Deputy Alison Hadfield also was hurt as a result of the incident after she tried to render aid to Payne and the child, sheriff’s officials said at the time. She broke several bones when she fell at the crash scene, Sheriff Mark Dannels said.
Payne had raced past Hadfield going west at Buffalo Soldier and Highway 90, sheriff’s officials said. Hadfield, who was going east, turned around and came upon the crash. She was injured when she tried to make her way down to the area where Payne’s mangled car ended up, Dannels said.
An accident reconstructionist with the Sierra Vista Police Department confirmed that Payne had been driving faster than 90 miles per hour, police officials said.
Payne and Hadfield were taken by ambulance to Canyon Vista Medical Center after the accident. Payne’s toddler son, who was in the vehicle with Payne, was flown to a hospital in Tucson, authorities said. Payne surrendered to Sierra Vista police a day after the crash after she left the hospital, police officials said.
Payne was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated DUI, child abuse and endangerment. Kurlander said his client is not in custody while she awaits sentencing. Payne does not have custody of her son, the attorney said.