Woman Admits Killing Daughter by Intentionally Crashing With Big Rig, Sentenced to Prison
Mentor, OH – An Ohio woman who killed her 10-year-old daughter in January 2019 by crashing her vehicle into a big rig has been sentenced to prison.
Kia Ferguson, 38, of South Euclid, OH, originally pleaded “not guilty” following a lengthy investigation by the Mentor Police Department (MPD), which determined Ferguson “intentionally” pulled her vehicle in front of a UPS semi-truck.
The fatal incident occurred on Interstate 90 between state Routes 306 and 615 in Mentor around 12:30 a.m. on January 25, 2019.
During the trial, prosecutors allege Ferguson spoke with a Kirtland Hills police officer hours prior to the deadly crash.
Ferguson told the officer she was having trouble with her tires on the 2008 Chevrolet SUV she was driving.
Inside the car were her two children, ages 6 and 10.
She was directed by law enforcement to leave the turnaround where she was parked and go to a nearby BP gas station for help.
According to prosecutors, the officer claims he saw her leave the turnaround “without any apparent car issues.”
Around 12:30 a.m., prosecutors claim Ferguson returned to the area.
She exited the turnaround with her lights turned off and drove across two lanes of traffic, into the direction of a big rig in the westbound lanes.
Ferguson’s vehicle was struck by a UPS semi-truck driven by Ralph Lansu, 57, of Strongsville, OH.
The impact of the crash pushed the Chevy down an embankment.
Ferguson and the left-rear passenger, her 6-year-old son Kobe Ferguson, were transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Ferguson’s 10-year-old daughter, Ji, who was traveling in the right-rear passenger seat, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lansu was thankfully not injured in the accident.
A subsequent investigation by MPD — which lasted nine months — revealed Ferguson’s actions were intentional.
She was indicted by a Lake County Grand Jury on September 26, 2019 and charged with aggravated murder, murder, attempted murder, attempted aggravated murder, felonious assault, and endangering children.
She pleaded not guilty in October 2019 and was freed on bond.
However, at a plea hearing in June 2020, Ferguson changed her plea to “guilty” to charges of murder and attempted murder.
Ferguson’s defense attorneys stated that in the months leading up to the crash, Ferguson was working in a high-pressure job.
As a result, her mental wellness began to decrease.
Tensions further escalated when she was fired from that job.
“She went on to experience low moods and increased inability to function at work, and as time went on, at home as well,” her attorneys wrote in a memorandum.
Towards the end of 2018, they allege Ferguson “actively” began searching for ways to harm herself.
“While there is some disagreement among healthcare professionals who evaluated Ferguson about whether she was legally sane at the time of the offense, there is no question she had a mental health crisis in January of last year,” her attorneys claim.
Ferguson’s attorneys, along with the prosecutors, recommended a sentence of no greater than 20 years to life in prison as a result of her pleading guilty.
On July 24, Ferguson was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison by Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Pat Condon.
At the time of her death, Ji was a straight-A fourth grade student Greenview Upper Elementary School in South Euclid, OH.