A California mother has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and child endangerment after she allegedly ran over her 6-year-old son with her car, police said. Melissa Damron, 42, is accused of locking her son out of the car on the morning of Aug. 22 and driving away from their home in Corona, a city about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
The boy chased after her and tried to open her car door, but he fell into the roadway and was run over by the car, according to the Corona Police Department. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he later died from his injuries, police said.
Police said they arrested Damron on Sept. 7 after an investigation revealed that she was aware that her son was close enough to the vehicle to present a hazard, and that she drove with gross negligence, causing his death. Police also said that neither drugs nor alcohol played a factor in the incident.
Corona Police Dept shared a post on Twitter:
— Corona Police Dept. #CoronaPD (@CoronaPD) September 8, 2023
Damron was released from custody after posting a $50,000 bail, police said. They said they forwarded the case to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Police said they learned that Damron had an extramarital affair with a woman who had been hired by Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer who was indicted this summer on federal charges of making false statements to banks.
Paul is also the subject of a bribery and abuse of office investigation involving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Police said they believe that Damron’s relationship with Paul was the motive behind her determination to help him with his legal troubles and that she used her position as a paralegal at Paxton’s office to access confidential information and influence decisions.
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Paxton is currently facing an impeachment trial in the Texas Senate, where he could be removed from office if convicted by a majority of senators. Paxton has denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Damron’s husband, state Sen. Angela Paxton, has been supportive of her wife throughout the ordeal. She attended the first day of Paxton’s impeachment trial on Tuesday and waved to a few dozen supporters in the gallery.
She has not commented publicly on Damron’s arrest or the allegations against her. Damron’s attorney, Mitch Little, said that his client is innocent and that she loves her son dearly. He said that the incident was a tragic accident and that Damron was devastated by the loss of her son. “She is not guilty of any crime,” Little said. “She is a loving mother who made a terrible mistake.”