(Trends Wide) — A South Carolina man was sentenced to 28 years in prison Tuesday after he fled a burning car and let his 19-month-old daughter die in the fire to escape police pursuit, according to a news release from the Spartanburg County Attorney’s Office.
State troopers tried to stop Imhotep O. Norman, 28, in April 2019 for speeding, the statement said. Norman drove over a median and onto Interstate 85 with flames and lots of smoke billowing from his car, the statement said.
After police officers forced him into the right lane of the road, Norman jumped out of the burning vehicle and left his daughter, Xena R. Norman, in her car seat, the statement said. Norman later told investigators that he thought officers would rescue her, according to the statement.
Norman’s daughter died of acute carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal burns, according to the statement.
Norman told the judge during his first bail hearing in 2019 that he did not know the car was on fire when he got out, according to Trends Wide affiliate WHNS.
“I just know the car wasn’t on fire when I got out of it,” Norman said. “I would have stayed in the car with my daughter. I would never have gotten out of the car while it was on fire. I saw sparks coming from under the tires when I tried to stop and couldn’t do it at the time. I don’t know why, what happened to the car was that I couldn’t stop. “
Norman pleaded guilty to manslaughter for child abuse, failure to stop for a blue light and siren, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, trafficking of methamphetamine and possession of amphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of oxycodone and of possession of xanax, according to the statement.
Norman’s attorney, Randy Chambers, told Trends Wide that his client intended to go to trial, but said that “for some reason, he (Norman) had a revelation to take responsibility for what happened.”
The lawyer said Norman was absolutely “devastated by the death of his daughter.” He added that after two years of representing Norman, he got the impression that his client was “smart, thoughtful” and “a good person who really made a bad decision” when he decided to run from the police. Chambers told Trends Wide that Norman had no criminal record prior to this incident.