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Donna Crites: Probation for Mom Who Gave 200 Jell-O Shots to Teens

Mom of the year candidate Donna Crites, of the town of Hutto just north of Austin, was sentenced to three years probation on Thursday after pleading guilty last month to five counts of providing alcohol to a minor. One of those minors later crashed her car and seriously injured four youths.

The 45-year-old must also go to jail for a week, publish two ads discouraging parental participation in underage drinking in area newspapers, and tape a public service announcement for a law enforcement agency. She must also spend the night in jail on the anniversary of the wreck for the next three years.

Last July, Crites allegedly helped provide over 200 Jell-O shots to her son, who was older than 18 and younger than 21, and at least four of his friends, two of whom were 17.

Later that night, Joshua Ervin Cullender, then 19 and described as a friend of Crites's son, got behind the wheel of Crites's Audi with four youths aboard and as many as 40 Jell-O shots, many made with Everclear, in his bloodstream. The results were horrible for all involved and very nearly fatal to one of the kids.

Crites herself was wise enough to steer clear of those leg-buckling 190-proof concoctions. As quoted in the Round Rock Leader, the affidavit stated that "Donna [Crites] left the residence to purchase another distilled spirit because she wanted to have Jell-O shots with the minors but did not want to use what Michael had just recently purchased."

Attaway to lead by example, mom! ("Michael" is 46-year-old Michael Shope, who pleaded guilty to other charges in this case last year. He served three months in jail.)

At 3:18 a.m, Cullender wrapped the Audi around a telephone pole. Three of the five occupants were ejected from the car. According to the Austin American-Statesman, three suffered brain damage. KVUE has reported that one young woman suffered the collapse of both her lungs and had her jaw broken in three places. A young man bit his tongue in half.

Twenty-year-old Derick Castro almost died. The Round Rock Leader picks up the tale:

Reese said her grandson lost his eyesight because of the car accident, and also suffered other serious injuries.

According to a written statement filed by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Travis Stenberg, who responded to the accident scene: "Mr. Castro suffered massive head trauma and a broken leg. Mr. Castro was on life support for approximately four weeks."

"They told us he was going to be in a vegetative state because his brains was scrambled like eggs," Reese told the Leader. "But that's not what happened and we thank God every day."

As for Cullender, he is doing seven years in prison for drinking what his buddy's mom and her friend helped put in front of him.

Crites has denied making the Jell-O shots and contradicts what was in the arrest report about partaking with the kids.


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