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Driver charged in death of 6-year-old hit in crosswalk

Published: Monday, June 18 2012 7:38 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal homicide charges have been field against the 46-year-old driver of the car that struck and killed 6-year-old Ambrosia Amalathithada and critically injured the girl's mother in March.

Janeen Lundberg, of Salt Lake City, faces charges of either automobile homicide or manslaughter, both second-degree felonies, as well as single counts of driving under the influence of drugs, a third-degree felony, and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and illegal turn, both class C misdemeanors, according to charges filed Monday in 3rd District Court.

Prosecutors will determine whether Lundberg will be charged with automobile homicide or manslaughter.

Police say Lundberg was driving under the influence of at least two sedatives about 4 p.m. March 14 when she veered into a left-hand turn lane on State Street near 1500 South and hit the mother and daughter in a crosswalk, according the charges.

Ambrosia suffered blunt force trauma to the head and was taken off life support the following day at Primary Children's Medical Center. The girl's mother, Natalie Randall, suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis and a fractured neck and skull.

Witnesses told police vehicles had begun slowing in anticipation of the mother and daughter crossing the road, but they did not see brake lights on Lundberg's vehicle until after she hit the pedestrians, according to the charges. In addition, there was no physical evidence that Lundberg applied her brakes prior to impact.

Lundberg stated in a written statement that she observed the mother and daughter three to four car lengths away, swerved to the right lane and applied her brakes 2 feet to 3 feet before the crosswalk, the charges state.

Witnesses said two cars stopped to let the mother and daughter cross the street, but Lundberg appeared to lose control of her vehicle and swerved into the pedestrians, according to court documents.

Lundberg told police she had taken several medications, including the pain medication Butalbital and the short-term sedative Doxylamine. A blood draw found the two medications present in her system, the charges state.

Lundberg told police she had stopped to purchase coffee and No Doz to "make sure she would be safe because she had not slept well the night before," according to the charges.

The mother and daughter had been walking home from Whittier Elementary School, where Ambrosia attended first grade.

The Utah Department of Transportation has agreed to place a traffic signal at the crosswalk this summer.

E-mail: jreyes@desnews.com Twitter: @_JulianReyes_

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