CLEARFIELD – It was an emotional morning in Clearfield County Court as an Altoona woman was sentenced to serve time in jail for an accident that ended the life of her five-year-old son.
Jayde Renate Huber, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to homicide by vehicle in relation to an accident in Covington Township in August of 2020.
Huber was “traveling between 77 and 84 miles per hour,” the criminal complaint states when she failed to negotiate a curve on Rolling Stone Road.
The vehicle went off the left side of the road and hit a pole before stopping in the northbound lane, facing west.
Although the speed limit in that area is 55 mph, there is a sign warning motorists to slow down to 35 mph before reaching the curve, police said.
The child was reportedly sitting in a booster seat directly behind the front driver’s seat.
Prior to sentencing, the child’s father addressed the court listing the changes in his life since the death of his child. He is no longer coaching his son’s team or serving on a school board.
“I feel like I am no longer a father,” he said, adding that he is empty now, missing his son’s “beautiful smile” and realizing he will never be able to do life activities with him, such as teaching him to drive.
“I not only lost my son, I lost my best friend,” he said.
President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman commented that “this is an absolute tragedy,” adding that these cases usually involve some sort of substance abuse.
Ammerman questioned District Attorney Ryan Sayers about why the other charges were withdrawn to which Sayers responded that Huber has to live with the loss of her son.
“If that is not punishment, then I don’t know what is.”
Sayers stated that the probation office’s recommendation of a three-month sentence was appropriate in this case.
Huber’s attorney, John Sisto, explained that she was returning from vacation, following another vehicle on unfamiliar roads when the accident occurred.
He also called it a tragedy as he noted that the other people in the car received minor injuries but the vehicle was impacted where the child was sitting in the car.
Sisto stated that Huber’s life has changed “in ways most of us can never understand,” and that incarceration was not the answer for a grieving mother.
He asked Ammerman to give her probation so she can raise her other child and keep working. This would also allow for her family and friends to monitor her mental and emotional state.
When she addressed the court, she said she wanted her son back, noting she has “already died inside.” She sobbed as she spoke and apologized to the boy’s father.
“I hope you can forgive me.”
Ammerman sentenced her to serve three to six months in the county jail with four years concurrent probation.
When she was taken from the court room, she became emotional, sobbing and saying “please, no.”
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Huber had a suspended driver’s license at the time of the accident.