Mother pleads in death of two children

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A Silver Springs mother has pleaded guilty to two counts of being under the influence of marijuana in a car crash that killed two neighbor children and injured seven others including her own son.

In exchange for Kimberly Kautz's plea, the Lyon County District Attorney's Office dropped 10 other charges stemming from the two deaths and the injury of four others.

Kautz, 31, who entered her plea Monday, faces two to 20 years in prison.

"It will be up to the judge whether or not the sentences run at the same time, or whether the first will run and than the other, consecutively," said Deputy District Attorney Bob Auer.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 22 when the family members of the dead and injured children will be allowed to offer victim-impact statements before Kautz is told how long she will spend in prison, Auer said.

The crash occurred on U.S. 95, about a mile south of U.S. 50, Aug. 13 as Kautz drove nine children -- seven in the open bed of her pickup truck, two in the cab -- home from a day at Lahontan Reservoir.

Dani Jo Baker, 11, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Jennifer O'Brien, 14, died early the following morning at Washoe Medical Center in Reno.

Dani Jo's brother Dakota Baker, 12, and sister Destiny Baker, 14, cousin, Randi "Missy" Beal, 15, Shaelyn Keep, 2, and friend Clinton Craiglowe were treated and released.

Kautz's son Zachary Saylor was seriously injured.

Auer said blood tests revealed Kautz had "considerably over the statutory limit" of five nanograms of marijuana per millimeter of blood in her system at the time of the accident.


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