By: Patti Weaver

(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater woman has been placed on five years’ probation, except for serving 30 days in jail, for abusing her children, ages 6 and 7, by having them inside her van when she intentionally ran into her ex-husband’s vehicle head-on with her vehicle.

Vanessa Avila, 30, who pleaded guilty last week to child abuse in 2019 and also embezzlement from her employer in 2017, was given a concurrent seven years of probation for stealing more than $1,000 from Supercuts when she worked there in 2017, court records show. For her embezzlement, she was ordered to pay $1,245 restitution and a $200 fine.

For child abuse, Avila was ordered by District Judge Phillip Corley to have a mental health evaluation and follow any recommended treatment including an anger management course and parenting class. Avila must also pay a prosecution fee, a $250 fine and $100 to the District Attorney’s Drug Fund, court records show.

According to an affidavit by Stillwater Police Officer Stephanie Wheeler, Avila’s ex-husband said that she was going to drop off their children at his job so that he could have them while she was at work on July 5, 2019.

Her ex-husband said “when he arrived, he parked on the opposite side of the parking lot than Vanessa. The two children were unloaded from the van that Vanessa was driving,” the affidavit said. But after the parents began arguing, Avila loaded the children back up and got in the van to leave, the affidavit said.

“The location of the business is at a dead-end of a road that turns into a parking lot. To access the parking lot, you have to go down a hill with a curved road. Vanessa drives away with the children and goes up the hill. She then turns around, revs the engine, and goes down the hill,” and hits her ex-husband’s vehicle head-on with her van containing her children, the affidavit said.

Her ex-husband said “he could hear his kids screaming and crying. Vanessa then turns around and leaves. Vanessa put her children in harm’s way when she intentionally drove into (his) vehicle causing significant damage,” the affidavit said.

More than a year earlier, Avila had been charged with embezzling from her employer in 2017; she was arrested on both felonies on Oct. 31, 2019 in South Haven, Kansas, court records show.

Since she was given deferred sentences in both cases, Avila will not have a criminal record if she successfully completes the terms of her probation.

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