CINCINNATI - A grandmother is accused of stealing her daughter's SUV and being drunk or high on drugs when she flipped the vehicle on a bridge between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky over the weekend, killing her 4-year-old grandson.
Geanna Mitchell, 43, wasn't even supposed to be driving. Her license was suspended indefinitely on May 21 because she did not pay child support, said Lindsey Bohrer, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Her bond was set at $1.1 million when she made a brief court appearance Monday morning at the Hamilton County jail. She was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and theft.
Her family says she is a recovering drug addict who had been making great strides staying clean and going to school to become a social worker.
"Geanna has a drug problem. She's always had one," said one of her daughters, Latoya Mitchell of Colerain Township. "And she's been doing really good here lately. Excellent. She just made the dean's list at Chatfield college."
But Cincinnati police say she was impaired and speeding when she lost control of a 2003 Ford Explorer traveling north on the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge about 9:45 p.m. Saturday.
The vehicle ran left of center and slammed into a 1999 Toyota Sienna minivan before hitting the barrier wall, rolling three times and flipping on its roof near the middle of the bridge.
Mitchell, her 9-year-old granddaughter and the driver of the minivan suffered minor injuries.
But her grandson, Logan Mitchell of Covington, was trapped and severely injured. A citizen pulled the little boy, who just graduated from kindergarten, from the vehicle, but he died at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
The 9-year-old, who was wearing a seat belt, freed herself from the vehicle, police said.
Cook said the 4-year-old was wearing a seat belt, but he was not strapped in a child's seat, as required by law.
Mitchell was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle through plastic covering a window. She was walking around when police arrived. She was treated and released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center before she was taken to jail.
Mitchell was babysitting Logan, Rain Mitchell and Logan's 6-month-old sibling at Mitchell's Westwood apartment Saturday night. Logan's mother, Terria, had brought Logan and Rain to the apartment to visit her mother, Geanna Mitchell.
At some point, Terria Mitchell, who works third shift, fell asleep, leaving the children in Geanna Mitchell's care. She told her mother not to drive her car, but she took the keys while Terria slept anyway, Latoya Mitchell said.
Family members think Geanna Mitchell was headed to Terria Mitchell's house to get formula for the infant when the crash occurred.
"On her way out, she grabbed Rain and Logan and asked Rain and Logan to go with her," Latoya Mitchell said. "They were outside in the front playing in the courtyard. "
Latoya said she received a phone call late Saturday alerting her to the crash and that her daughter was hurt. Latoya said she called Terria, waking her.
"Terria didn't even know that Rain and Logan were in the car with Geanna," Latoya Mitchell said. "So this is even more tragic for her. I woke her up out of her sleep with me screaming saying Logan is gone. It's just one of those situations where's it's just tragic right now. It's hard to try to piece it together. Logan is going to be missed so much."
Geanna Mitchell has a lengthy criminal history in Hamilton County over the past two decades. She's been arrested several times on charges including theft, soliciting, falsification, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and trespassing.
She most recently was arrested May 3 and charged with theft for allegedly stealing $12.72 in clothes from a Walmart store.
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