Suspect in fatal crash once sold her baby for $2,000
A woman who allegedly caused a fatal car accident while fleeing from police on Monday was once convicted of selling her 4-month-old baby for $2,000, which she used to gamble and buy video-game consoles, according to court records.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The woman who allegedly caused a fatal car accident while fleeing from police on Monday was once convicted of selling her 4-month-old baby for $2,000, money she reportedly used to pay off a parking ticket, fund a trip to a casino and buy a PlayStation, according to court records.
In 2003, Virginia Christina Ramsey, 36, of Auburn, was sentenced to 15 days in jail, 75 days of electronic home-monitoring and 240 hours of community service for selling her son. At sentencing, she told a King County judge that she had addressed her drinking and drug problem.
Ramsey is suspected of causing a crash on Monday that left a 40-year-old Fife man dead and his passenger hospitalized with serious injuries. The State Patrol says it suspects drugs or alcohol were involved. Ramsey, too, was seriously injured in the crash.
According to Federal Way police, a 911 call came in at about 6:30 p.m. Monday reporting a "reckless driver" near Pacific Highway South and South 356th Street.
A Federal Way officer located the reported car and driver, police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said.
"As soon as the woman spotted him, she immediately started to take evasive action," Schrock said.
The officer tried to pull her over by turning on his flashing lights, but the driver sped away, Schrock said. When the driver's speed became excessive, the officer called in to report that he would begin pursuing her, and he turned on his siren, she said.
Two minutes later, the car driven by Ramsey slammed into another vehicle at Pacific Highway and Porter Way, in the town of Milton, killing Douglas Simmons III and seriously injuring Holly Mattson, 42, of Oregon City, Ore. The Washington State Patrol will be conducting a criminal investigation into the crash, while Federal Way police will do an administrative review of the officer's actions, Schrock said.
Pursuit by an officer can be justified when a vehicle is being driven recklessly or is reported as a possible DUI, because that poses a threat to other drivers on the road, Schrock said.
Schrock said a preliminary review suggests that the officer followed the department's policies.
Nevertheless, she said, "The outcome is extremely tragic. There's no other way to describe it."
The baby-selling case
Ramsey, her ex-boyfriend, Kenneth Slape, and his ex-wife, Tina Anderson, were charged with baby-selling or buying in 2002.
According to court documents and a 2003 Seattle Times interview with Slape, Ramsey had given birth to a son with fetal alcohol syndrome in 2001.
The baby constantly cried, and Ramsey was broke and desperate when she called Slape in June 2001, to ask if he could help her.
"She called and said she couldn't take it anymore and honestly, I was worried about [the baby]," said Slape, who is not the baby's father.
"You hear all the time about these moms that throw their babies in the Dumpsters or hurt them. I just didn't want that to happen to him."
Slape called his ex-wife, Tina Anderson, of Eastern Washington, whom he described as an excellent mother, to see if she could help.
Slape said Anderson agreed to take the baby. The three met up in a store parking lot, where Ramsey gave Anderson the baby and a makeshift, but notarized, letter in which she gave up her parental rights.
Anderson gave Ramsey approximately $2,000 that was intended, she said, not as a payment for the child but as a gift to help Ramsey get back on her feet.
"It might have been stupid, and maybe we should have thought it through better, but we were trying to do a good thing for the baby," Slape said.
Police were called by one of Ramsey's neighbors, who said the baby disappeared one day after Ramsey had been complaining about the child.
Slape pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of child-selling and was sentenced to serve one month in a work-release program.
Anderson never pleaded guilty, insisting all along that she had been trying to help the child.
Prosecutors dismissed charges against her after she accepted a period of probation.
The child was taken into foster care during the investigation, but there was no immediate word on where he is now.
A long rap sheet
Ramsey has a criminal history that begins in Clallam County in 1993 and includes convictions for domestic violence, assault, malicious mischief and numerous drug charges, according to court documents.
She has been under state Department of Corrections supervision three times since 2000, according to DOC spokesman Chad Lewis and a "flurry" of drug convictions sent her to prison in December 2008.
Upon her release in October 2009, she was ordered to remain under the supervision of DOC's Auburn office.
However, she had failed to report to her community-corrections officer, failed to notify the DOC of a change of address and failed to provide proof of her attendance at sobriety meetings, Lewis said.
"She was noncompliant, to say the least," he said.
By April 1, a DOC secretary's warrant had been issued for her arrest.
The State Patrol said that Ramsay — who is at Harborview Medical Center in serious condition — could face charges of vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, murder and attempted murder in connection with Monday's accident.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from Seattle Times archives.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or email@example.com
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