Man who left injured kids in car gets 10 years

Earl Lionell Ward will face 120 months in prison after crashing a minivan with his son and daughter in it, leaving them seriously injured and fleeing the scene.
The July 1, 2014 crash left his teenage daughter paralyzed for life, and his 8-year-old son with a broken leg that protruded through his skin and grazed an artery.
According to the Ramsey County Attorney's office, Judge Leonardo Castro gave Ward the maximum 120 months in prison due to aggravating factors including Ward's previous 11 felony convictions.
Heard her children screaming
On the night of the crash, the children's mother, who was Ward's girlfriend, reportedly told police that she and Ward, along with the two children and other family members, had been at a drive-in movie, and he had become intoxicated. 
A criminal complaint states she also thought she smelled crack cocaine on him at a point when he was standing outside the van.
Ward, his girlfriend, the kids, and the girlfriend's older son and another friend had all attended the movie, and returned to the friend's house on Mechanic Avenue afterward.
There, after his girlfriend got out of the car, Ward demanded that she get back in and take him home.
When she refused, Ward climbed into the driver's seat and took off in the vehicle with the kids.
A short time later she heard a loud crash, and heard her two younger children crying and screaming her name. She ran to the car, which had sustained front-end damage from being driven into a pavement cutout 8 to 10 inches deep. There, she found her children had been injured after being thrown from the back seats into the front, and saw Ward standing near the vehicle.
She ran back to the house to call 911; the call came in to dispatchers at 3:22 a.m. 
When she returned to the scene of the accident, Ward was gone.
Prior convictions
Police apprehended Ward later on July 1 in the evening in a parking lot near his sister's home on the 1500 block of Marion Street in St. Paul. Officers reportedly found him sleeping in a parked car. He smelled strongly of alcohol, according to the criminal complaint.
Ward's prior convictions include multiple assaults, controlled-substance offenses, a prostitution offense and fleeing police. 
At the time he was arrested he was wanted on warrants for violation of a no-contact order and domestic assault. After the crash, his girlfriend told police he had knocked her front teeth out the previous week and tried to strangle her a few weeks before that. He will serve 36 months on the no-contact conviction concurrently with the crash sentence.
"This defendant's pattern of criminal and reckless actions led to severe injuries for his son and paralysis for his daughter," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. "We are pleased that the Court imposed the statutory maximum in this case and hope that the victims and their family gain some peace of mind in light of this tragic situation."
Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.
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