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Mother Held on Vehicular Manslaughter

VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

April 11, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A Santa Barbara woman with a history of narcotics convictions was arrested Monday for a drug-related head-on collision in Ventura last November that fatally injured her 11-year-old daughter, police said.

Teri Anne Seeman-Bell, 29, was taken into custody at a Santa Barbara board-and-care facility that houses single parents with dependent children, said Ventura Police Cpl. John Turner.

She was booked into Ventura County Jail on $50,000 bail and has been charged with a single count of vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of drugs, Turner said.

Authorities won't disclose the drugs Seeman-Bell allegedly had in her system at the time of the crash, but Turner confirmed that blood tests found several illegal narcotics as well as prescription medications.

According to police, Seeman-Bell was driving with her two daughters, ages 11 and 2, in Ventura on Nov. 21 when she lost control of her rented car on Valentine Road near Knoll Drive.

The vehicle was headed west on Valentine when it crossed a median covered with raised road dots and struck a van carrying a family of six from Oxnard, Turner said.

"It's not good to have rows of those dots and no reaction from the driver," Turner said Monday.

The investigation, which took four months to complete due to extensive drug tests and analysis of the results, found no skid marks at the scene, Turner said.

Seeman-Bell and her youngest daughter, Nadia, had only minor injuries, but her older daughter, Laylah, suffered major head trauma and internal injuries and was in a coma for a week before dying Nov. 29.

At the time of the crash, Laylah, described as a gifted student who was extremely well-liked, was riding in the front passenger seat--the area of the car that took the brunt of the crash's impact, authorities said.

In the van, Manuel and Norma Guzman and three of their four children, who range in age from 1 to 9, suffered minor injuries, Turner said. Guadalupe Guzman, 7, suffered a broken leg.

According to Santa Barbara authorities, the case isn't the first time Seeman-Bell has been accused of drug-related crimes.

In August 1997, Seeman-Bell was sentenced to six months in Santa Barbara County Jail after pleading no contest to four felony counts of drug possession and being under the influence of cocaine, authorities said.

According to Santa Barbara police, Seeman-Bell was working in March 1997 as a licensed nurse's aide at Sarah House, a home in Santa Barbara for people with AIDS, when she took pain medication from patients and replaced the stolen pills with other drugs.

At the time of the thefts, Seeman-Bell was eight months pregnant and had used cocaine while at work, authorities added. She later gave birth to a healthy baby, her daughter Nadia.

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