Drunk Driver Gets 15 Years for Crash that Killed Baby

May 22, 2013 Updated Nov 22, 2013 at 8:39 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

May 22, 2013 Updated Nov 22, 2013 at 8:39 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - A tearful and emotional day unfolded in an Erie County courtroom, with a drunk driver facing prison time in connection with a deadly crash.

Danielle Kellogg was sentenced to up to 15 years behind bars for killing seven-month-old Baylee Dion on November 27, 2012. The crash also severely injured Baylee's mother, Denise Hine.

"She was an angel," Baylee's father, Scott Dion, said after the sentencing hearing.

"I literally gave birth to an angel," Denise Hine continued. "She never cried, she was perfect, she was gorgeous."

Hine spoke of her terror both at the crash site and in the months afterwards. The thought of whether she did enough for Baylee haunted Hine. In a letter to the judge, a witness answered that question.

"I read that I was being the best mommy I could be," Hine recalled. "I did try to crawl out of the car to get to her. I was screaming and trying so hard to see her -- but they wouldn't let me, because they didn't want me to see how badly she was hurt."

The night before the crash, Kellogg had been partying at a friend's house.

Drunk and high, Kellogg's SUV crossed over the double yellow lines on Route 20 in the Town of Brant.

Her blood alcohol content measured was at least 0.13. Tests found marijuana and cocaine in her system as well.

The crash ripped Hine's car in half. Baylee, still strapped in her car seat, was found 30 feet from the point of impact.

"I pray to God everyday that you give her the maximum," Hine told Judge Michael D'Amico. "Please, don't let my baby's short life worth anything less."

Witnesses rushed to help. Prosecutor Bethany Solek says, "They pulled Baylee from the wreckage, they covered her with a blanket, and they did everything possible to save this little girl. The defendant was nowhere near Baylee as she struggled in those final moments."

Solek says instead, a remorseless Kellogg made phone calls to family and friends, smoked cigarettes and drank coffee.

However, in court, Kellogg cried for almost the entire hearing.

"I know I did wrong," Kellogg told Judge Michael D'Amico and Baylee's family members. "I'm ready to serve the time, I'm ready to do what I have to do. I'm sorry, I'm just so, so sorry."

In November of 2009, Kellogg was arrested for drinking and driving in Chautauqua County.

She pleaded guilty to Driving While Ability Impaired. Her blood alcohol level was 0.12.

This is a disturbing trend, says Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita.

"The number one felony in Erie County, by far, is driving while intoxicated," Sedita explains. "And in nearly all of those cases, the defendant is a repeat offender."

Baylee's family members also spoke about the recent trend of repeat drunk drivers. Even though Kellogg received a maximum sentence, a few repeat drunk drivers recently have gotten away with lesser sentences for deadly crashes.

"People keep dying," Hine said. "You can't get in your car, and think it can't happen to you. I had a baby -- and I don't have her anymore."

The crash also severely injured Denise Hine. However, it is the emotional wounds that hurt the most, and have changed her family forever.

The earliest Kellogg could be released is in five years. However, Sedita says it most likely would be a minimum of ten.

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