View Full Version : Betty-Jo Tagerson runs into triplets and their friend
November 7th, 2010, 09:02 AM
In a family photo, Victoria Morgan, left, stands with her little sisters, from left, Delaney, Isabella and Gabrielle Rossman.
Danielle Malm was in her kitchen Friday evening, icing a birthday cake, when she heard a loud noise.
"Did you hear that?" she asked her husband.
Before he could answer, there was a second, louder bang.
Malm ran outside and saw a Jeep crunched against her van in the driveway. She looked across the street, to where her four daughters had just been playing with a friend.
It was nearly 8 p.m. and dark, but the yard was illuminated by a street light. Malm could see that the Jeep had cut through the yard.
She screamed and ran.
Two of her 5-year-old triplets were lying on the ground, motionless.
Saturday morning at 8:40, Delaney Rossman was declared dead at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Her sister Gabrielle Rossman was in a medically induced coma with two broken clavicles, a broken pelvis, several broken ribs, a broken right leg, a collapsed lung and internal bleeding, her mother said.
The Jeep had run over them and a 9-year-old neighbor, Marissa Manuli, who escaped with minor injuries. Isabella Rossman, the third triplet, was scraped and bruised in the commotion.
Big sister Victoria Morgan, 10, who saw the Jeep strike her sisters, was in shock.
"My sisters are dead," she cried, according to Marissa's grandmother, Nancy Wyatt. "My sisters are dead."
Meanwhile, the girls' stepfather, Eric Malm, and their mother began CPR on Delaney while they waited for the medical helicopter to arrive. Wyatt knelt with Gabrielle, but the little girl was bleeding so much she didn't know where to touch her to comfort her. "Try not to move," she said.
Moments before the crash, Betty-Jo Tagerson got into her Jeep, just about 50 paces up King Manor Avenue from the scene in this north Pasco community. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, she swerved sharply left and drove over the curb. She flattened a mailbox, missed a light pole, crashed into a pickup parked in a yard, and ran into the little girls playing on the lawn.
The Jeep kept moving, and Tagerson fell out the driver's-side door, landing onto Marissa Manuli's driveway.
The empty Jeep rolled back onto King Manor Avenue, crossed the street, and rammed into Mrs. Malm's van.
That was the second crash Mrs. Malm heard as she was spreading green icing on her niece's birthday cake for a party that was supposed to be on Saturday.
A check of area court records showed no driving infractions for Tagerson. Driving histories from the state department of motor vehicles are not available on weekends. She has one arrest in Florida a 2007 Pasco charge of scheming to defraud according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Tagerson was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in serious condition after the crash.
A man who said he is her ex-husband, Rick Tagerson, answered the door of her home Saturday afternoon. He said she was still in the hospital. He didn't want to talk.
"It was an accident," he said.
Sgt. Larry Kraus of the Florida Highway Patrol said the agency is investigating to determine if she will be charged.
"I know people want swift action," he said, but added it's important to proceed carefully. "We don't want something to go wrong that could cause us to lose a case," he said.
Asked about reports from neighbors that Tagerson was speeding and that she was fiddling with a bungee cord that held her driver's side door shut, he declined to comment on that. "We don't want to speculate," Kraus said.
Saturday afternoon, Danielle and Eric Malm were at St. Joseph's Hospital visiting Gabrielle. They had just come from the medical examiner's office, having identified Delaney.
November 7th, 2010, 10:46 AM
Omg. Just. Wow. It's very rarely that stories here actually make me cry, but this did. I can't even imagine.
November 7th, 2010, 11:45 AM
the triplets as babies :sad:
November 7th, 2010, 01:32 PM
In the photos where the girls are dressed as fairies: Delany Rossman is on the far left in pink, Isabella Rossman is in the middle in blue, Gabrielle is on the right in green. The girl at the top right is Victoria Morgan, their 10-year-old sister. And at the top left is their step-brother, 9-year-old Gage Malm.
November 7th, 2010, 01:43 PM
More images from the scene: http://download.gannett.edgesuite.net/wtsp/webgallery/2010/erratic_driver_hits_3/index.htm
Florida Highway Patrol troopers say the driver of the SUV, Betty Jo Tagerson, had a fight with her husband prior to speeding away from her home down the street.
"I understand people get mad, they get upset, but you can't drive erratically in a neighborhood like this," Carroll said.http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=154948&catid=8
November 7th, 2010, 01:49 PM
Did she at any time attempt to use the brakes? Or was this jeep such a hunk of junk it had none? If she was driving a vehicle she KNEW was unfit for driving (a bungee cord to hold the door closed) then she is beyond responsible for that "accident". She should have to pay every day of her life for her own stupid choices, choices that ended up costing a child her life, another serious injuries and other children the loss of their sister. Sounds as if she was so concerned with saving her own ass that she didn't even make an attempt to warn anyone, let alone those little girls, that she couldn't control her jeep. I hope they find a way to lock her up and let her rot in jail.
November 7th, 2010, 07:02 PM
How very sad.
I hope the other girls can overcome this as they grow up. I feel for the whole family.
November 9th, 2010, 12:34 AM
The death of anyone is hard to accept. My co-worker just committed suicide yesterday and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. However, whenever I hear there are multiples (twins, triplets, etc) either identical or very similar to each other) involved, it pains me even more. I just can't even fathom the idea of losing one of them and then seeing her likeness still walking around the house all of the time. I still think I see pets that have passed on out of the corner of my eye. I can't imagine thinking you are seeing things and it actually being there. Does that make sense?
November 9th, 2010, 12:39 AM
Oh this is so heart breaking.
November 9th, 2010, 06:27 AM
Yes it is Mbm
Betty-Jo Tagerson got into her Jeep, just about 50 paces up King Manor Avenue from the scene in this north Pasco community. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, she swerved sharply left and drove over the curb. She flattened a mailbox, missed a light pole, crashed into a pickup parked in a yard, and ran into the little girls playing on the lawn
You know, I understand that it happened lightening quick and maybe ...just maybe she wasn't drunk off her ass or high. Yet the fact that she managed the wheel enough to miss a light pole before plowing into these children (and holy hell, she had already run INTO a vehicle beforehand)
Okay yeah, I take it back. She was either drunk or high. Screw this person.
RIP baby girl.
Tons of prayers to the family
November 9th, 2010, 09:35 AM
This is local for me. A little old lady in the DL office yesterday told me about this. She then played with my youngest for the remainder of out wait.
That's one hell of an accident. An accident is hitting a pothole and throwing your car into a mailbox. An accident is not seeing the cars break hard in front of you. This was avoidable and mindless.
I don't want her strung up for all to see, but I would like to make it all go away.
November 9th, 2010, 11:01 AM
I don't want her strung up for all to see.
November 9th, 2010, 12:37 PM
I do hope it was stupidity or something senseless or reckless on the driver's part at least then there would be SOMETHING or SOMEONE to blame for this loss. If it was indeed just an "accident" it is a terrible and meaningless tragedy - either way it is a horrible loss for the family. Rest in Peace baby girl
November 9th, 2010, 11:40 PM
No charges yet,thats why its not in Reality Bites
Hudson triplets' mother: 'They couldn't get out of the way'
Nov 5 2010
HUDSON, Fla. - In a neighborhood where the Halloween decorations still hang, there's new yard decoration: a memorial for little Delany. Delany is one of three triplets. She died when an out-of-control Jeep careened into her and her sisters while they were playing in the front of the family home on King Manor Avenue Friday night.
"My 10-year-old daughter saw it coming," said Danielle Malm, the mother of the triplets. "She was in the yard," she added. "She told her sisters to move."
But it was too late for Delany who couldn't get out of the way. Her sister, Gabrielle, was also hit and seriously injured.
"She has two broken clavicles," said her mom, holding back tears as she recounted her injuries. "A broken pelvis, quite a few broken ribs, and a broken right leg."
At the triplets' school where the three were in separate classes, there was a somber mood of mourning Monday. Administrators here appreciated our interest, but were in no position to comment on how they're getting through all this, because they're still frankly trying to get through all this.
Parents dropping their kids off Monday morning told us they were rocked by the tragedy, but wouldn't speak on camera out of respect for the family.
The same respect wasnt given for the driver, 39-year-old Betty Jo Tagerson.
"She never stopped," said Mrs. Malm defiantly. "She didn't stop. And I've heard that she's saying that she had a seizure, but I don't believe it. If she had seizures before she had no reason to be behind the wheel of a car. And personally I don't believe she had a seizure, I believe she was high on drugs."
Toxicology reports are not in yet, and there have been no charges filed yet, but the investigation is continuing.http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_pasco/hudson/pedestrians-involved-in-multi-vehicle-crash-in-hudson
From Left to Right - Isabella Rossman, Delaney Rossman, Gabrielle Rossman http://i56.tinypic.com/29vbb4y.jpg
Delaney Rossman (in Pink) , Isabella Rossman (in Blue), Gabrielle Rossman (in Green) http://i54.tinypic.com/11b3wgj.jpg
Betty Jo Tagerson
Triplet injured in deadly Hudson crash improving
Nov 9 2010
The memorial for Delaney Rossman gets bigger everyday, and so does the heartache.
"It is sad, " sid Maria Manuli, "My daughter comes out, everytime she comes out she puts something out here."
Her 9-year-old daughter Marissa was one of several girls hit by a neighbor's car last Friday. She lost a tooth, others are wired together in her mouth.
But she is relatively lucky. Marissa not talked about the loss of friend, who died right in her front yard.
"I don't know if it has really hit," her mother said.
Troopers say the driver, Betty Jo Tagerson lost control, sending her SUV barrelling into Manuli's yard and into the girls, including three young triplets.
Tagerson and her ex-husband Jason Gordon, who she still lives with her, left a note with flowers at the memorial. It read, " Sorry about the tragedy. If you need anything let us know."
Maria was surprised, but Marissa and the rest of the family?
"They got really angry that she left something," said Maria, "I told them she probably feels bad and she did not do it on purpose."
Tagerson, was not home. Gordon, with a group of friends, tried walking away from our news crew. We asked him about the note.
"It is sincere and that is that," he said, "It is tragic, we are close friends with them."
The parents of the triplets have been keeping vigil at the hospital. Delaney Rossman died, while Gabrielle is getting better, but she has many broken bones and a collapsed lung.
The family says Isabella was pushed out of the way by her older sister Victoria, and while she only has scratches and bruises, her heart will be broken when they tell her.
Tagerson has not been charged. Trooper say they are still investigating and waiting for toxicology results.
November 10th, 2010, 01:09 PM
Betty-Jo Tagerson had been working at the doctor's office for three years before anyone noticed money missing.But when Tagerson went on vacation for two weeks in late 2007, an employee at Ramappa M.D. in New Port Richey suspected patient cash payments had been erased from the computer.
The office discovered almost $8,000 had vanished and pointed the finger at Tagerson, an office manager. The Pasco Sheriff's Office arrested her on a charge of scheme to defraud and she later entered a pretrial intervention program that, if completed, would result in the charge being dismissed.
But the restitution she owed ballooned to more than $19,000, and since January 2008, the doctor's office said Tuesday, Tagerson has made only eight payments, all of them short of the $500 monthly installment.
"We haven't received nearly the amount we were supposed to," Ramappa office manager Laura Webber said.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Gordon, 32, has been charged with being an out-of-state fugitive, marijuana possession and twice driving under the influence. The outcomes of the cases are not clear.
Another ex-husband, Rick Tagerson, 41, answered the door at Tagerson's house on Saturday. Records show he has faced charges including aggravated assault, burglary, battery and driving under the influence.
The highway patrol does not expect to conclude its investigation of the crash for several weeks, pending the outcome of toxicology tests.
November 10th, 2010, 01:26 PM
so she is an embezzler AND a drunk driver! poor kids...anyone hear anything about the 2nd triplet that was injured?
November 10th, 2010, 01:31 PM
HUDSON When the deputies came, Marissa Manuli hid her head under the covers, not wanting to speak. Tire treads had burned her legs. A tooth was missing.
Marissa, 9, and her friends from across the street 5-year-old triplets Delaney, Isabella and Gabrielle Rossman, and their sister Victoria Morgan, 10 had been playing in the yard Friday night when neighbor Betty-Jo Tagerson barreled down Kings Manor Avenue in her Jeep and into their yard. The Jeep struck the girls, killing Delaney and critically injuring Gabrielle.
After a helicopter took her friends away, Marissa sat outside in her yard. She didn't want to talk to anyone but her mother, Maria Manuli, and grandmother, Nancy Wyatt. The next day she sat and stared at the TV.
"The doctor said she was still in shock," Wyatt said. "She was numb to everything."
On Saturday, Marissa's great-uncle planted a cross in the yard where the girls had played. Marissa began to write letters to Delaney.
Monday afternoon, she and all the neighbors waited for news. The triplets' parents, Danielle and Eric Malm, had yet to return from their vigil at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where Gabrielle was being treated for internal bleeding, a collapsed lung, several broken ribs, two broken clavicles and breaks in her pelvis and right leg.
Marissa turned her energy to the memorial, visiting it constantly, bringing new items from inside with every trip.
"She keeps going out there and checking on it, sometimes every 15 minutes or so," Wyatt said. "Last night she went out there and sprinkled sand. Don't ask me why. She might be pretending it's fairy dust."
Marissa had dreaded going to school Monday. Her tooth was still missing, and she thought she looked funny. The dentist said she would need wires to re-root her adult teeth, and she could only eat soft foods, and she was afraid kids would make fun of her. She didn't talk much, trying to hide her teeth.
November 10th, 2010, 03:50 PM
Gabrielle Rossman, one of the 5-year-old triplets hit by a Jeep Cherokee on Friday, is out of the coma and her condition is improving, her aunt, Ryan Kalhorn, said.
Gabrielle, Isabella and Delaney Rossman were struck while playing in a friend's yard in Hudson. Delaney was killed, Gabrielle suffered multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung, and Isabella suffered minor injuries.
"On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everybody for their continued support," Kalhorn said. "We are happy to say Gabrielle is in fair condition with a long road ahead of her."
Gabrielle no longer is on the breathing tube and is "progressing, but it will be a long time before she comes home," Kalhorn said.
Gabrielle keeps asking about her sisters, said Kalhorn, but does not know Delaney died.
"We are waiting for advice from the child advocate" on when to tell her, Kalhorn said.
Kalhorn said she does not know whether her niece is even aware that she was hit. "She hasn't talked about it," Kalhorn said.
A funeral and visitation for Delaney was scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at the Aripeka Baptist Church, 18731 Aripeka Road. The girls' mother, Danielle Malm, also is making arrangements for a place to hold a memorial service. Betty-Jo Tagerson, 39, of Hudson, was driving the Jeep, investigators said.
November 10th, 2010, 04:07 PM
November 18th, 2010, 02:07 PM
Gabrielle released from hospital
"TAMPA - The 5-year-old girl came into the room acting playful with a wide smile, a black hat and covered in a cozy Tinker Bell blanket.
"She's doing great; she's excited to be going home," said her mother, Danielle Malm, sitting beside her at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Gabrielle Rossman wearing a purple cast on her right leg -- agreed and smiled. "Going home," she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
On Nov. 5, Gabrielle, who is a triplet, was in a coma and had fractured both clavicles and her fibula and tibia in her right leg.
A driver of an SUV had lost control and crashed into Gabrielle and her sisters as they played in a neighbor's yard in Hudson. Gabrielle's triplet sister Delaney Rossman died; Isabella Rossman, the other triplet, sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized.
The family has told Gabrielle and Isabella that their sister died. They told Gabrielle that Delaney has her wings in heaven and that any time she wants to see her she can close her eyes, said Amy Gall, a hospital spokeswoman.
The SUV's driver, Betty-Jo Tagerson, 39, of Hudson, sustained minor injuries in the crash. She hasn't been charged and the case remains under investigation, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Malm has been moved by the community's support and has been amazed by the work of the hospital staff.
"We called them rock stars; they were awesome," Malm said.
And she also didn't expect her daughter's quick recovery.
"We didn't think we'd be this far this fast," Malm said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gabrielle was heading home to Hudson to have dinner with her family. She is going to spend about three weeks in a wheelchair before beginning physical therapy, Malm said.
Her sister Isabella also is doing well, Malm said. She's looking forward to having Gabrielle home, she said."
March 14th, 2011, 09:34 AM
Betty Jo Tagerson charged in triplet death
Pasco County, Florida -- The woman investigators say ran over a group of children as they played in a Hudson front yard in November will face her alleged actions in court.
On Friday, 39-year-old Betty Jo Tagerson was booked into the Pasco County Jail on charges of vehicular homicide and reckless driving for the crash that killed 5-year-old Delaney Rossman and seriously injured her triplet sister, Gabrielle, and another little girl.
This is the day Delaney's mother, Danielle Rossman, has waited for for four months and six days.
March 14th, 2011, 09:48 AM
My god....This is the first I've read of this thread....I can't imagine losing one child and having to be strong for the other 2, and how 2 of the triplets will no longer have one of their sisters. so heartbreaking.
I'm happy she was charged with vehicular homicide and reckless driving. Why the fuck did she jump the curb anyways? Was she really going that fast that she couldn't stop?
March 14th, 2011, 12:00 PM
Why the fuck did she jump the curb anyways? Was she really going that fast that she couldn't stop?
Its called being a fucking stupid selfish cunt.
March 14th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Thank god she has been charged. What the heck took so long??
March 14th, 2011, 02:22 PM
She looks like "oh poor me, how inconvenient" in her mugshot at the article. I hope she gets the book thrown at her so hard it knocks that fucking stupid head right off her shoulders. Those poor little baby girls and omg, the guilt that big sis of theirs must feel! Wow... my heart hurts for them. :(
January 25th, 2012, 10:38 AM
NEW PORT RICHEY --
The Pasco County sisters who were hit by a vehicle while playing in their Hudson neighborhood in November 2010 testified in court today about the evening their other sister was killed.
Triplets Isabella, Delaney and Gabrielle Rossman were in a neighbor's yard when Betty Jo Tagerson drove her Jeep into a crowd of children, according to authorities.
Delaney was killed, while Gabrielle suffered serious injuries, including two broken clavicles, a broken pelvis, broken ribs, a broken right leg and internal bleeding.
Isabella and Gabrielle, now 7, took the stand separately and answered questions about the accident. The girls' mother Danielle Malm, also testified.
"And it was only a few seconds but then I heard the screaming from across the yard," Malm said.
Investigators said Tagerson slammed into the group of kids with her Jeep after an argument with her boyfriend.
Holding back tears, Malm told jurors about how she found her daughter.
"When I got to the scene her head was turned and eyes were fixed," she said. "There is no other way to say that. They were facing up and she never looked toward me. They stayed in that position the entire time. I remember breathing for her and not doing her chest compressions because I would breathe because there was blood coming out of her mouth and every time they pushed on her chest there would be blood. Nobody else wanted to do it."
Isabella took the stand and told jurors about her sister.
"I remember seeing her on the grass," she said. "She wouldn't breathe, but I remember somebody helping her trying to breathe but she still wouldn't breathe."
Gabrielle also took the stand. She was injured during the crash. Her mom remembers her cries for help.
"I scooped her up. She was breathing. She was screaming," Malm said, "so I guessed she was in better shape than Delaney because she was breathing."
Tuesday was the second day of Tagerson's trial on vehicular homicide. She also is facing charges of negligent manslaughter and two counts of reckless driving with serious injury. She could face 25 years in prison if convicted.
Tagerson's attorney Dennis Watson counters that his client blacked out while driving and the result was a terrible accident.
Tagerson, who became emotional while listening to the sisters' testimonies, is expected to testify in her own defense during the trial.
If the trial remains on schedule, it could wrap up by the end of the week. More testimony for the state is expected Wednesday.
April 3rd, 2012, 03:42 PM
Woman who drove into triplets sentenced to 13 years in prison
NEW PORT RICHEY — Betty-Jo Tagerson, the woman who drove her Jeep into a group of children playing tag on a lawn and killed 5-year-old Delaney Rossman, was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison.
Circuit Judge Michael Andrews also gave the 40-year-old Hudson woman 5 years probation and permanently revoked her drivers license.
"You will never drive again,'' Andrews told her.
In January, a six-member jury found Tagerson guilty of all the charges she faced: vehicular homicide, culpable negligence manslaughter and two counts of reckless driving with serious injury.
Delaney was a triplet. Her sisters were Isabella and Gabrielle Rossman. Delaney was killed when Tagerson lost control of her Jeep on Nov. 5, 2010, and careened into a neighbor's yard full of children playing. A doctor testified during Tagerson's trial that Delaney had tire marks on her face and her skull was crushed.
Tagerson spoke to the court during the sentencing hearing and asked for leniency.
"The sentence I receive today will not bring sweet Delaney back," Tagerson said.
She said she is in her own personal hell with a "life sentence" because of her grief over killing Delaney.
"I am truly sorry for what's happened," Tagerson said.
Danielle Malm, Delaney's mother also addressed the court. "I ask for you to give Betty-Jo Tagerson the maximum sentence allowable by law," she said. "She had the ability to prevent this and she didn't."
Tagerson argued with her boyfriend the night of the crash, stormed into her Jeep and floored it. She quickly lost control, jumped a curb, smashed a mailbox and began rolling toward the yard full of girls. She hit a parked truck and the children and then fell out of her open driver's side door, which had a broken latch. She testified she did not bother tying her door shut — as she usually did with a cord — and she didn't wear her seat belt.
An expert testified she would not have lost control of the car if she had been buckled in, because she wouldn't have been fighting to stay in the car.
Tagerson's defense was that she hyperventilated and passed out soon after driving out of her yard. She said she doesn't remember the crash.
"She may have lost consciousness when she was ejected and hit the pavement," Assistant State Attorney Chris Sprowls said during the trial. But Tagerson "was awake as she is right in this courtroom right now," Sprowls said, "struggling to stay inside her car, one hand on the wheel and her foot on the gas."
Medical experts for the state testified Tagerson never complained of blackouts until July 2011, eight months after the crash. Tagerson says she did.
During the three-day trial, there was no mention of whether Tagerson had drugs in her system, although the Florida Highway Patrol report on the crash said Tagerson had prescribed levels of oxycodone in her system that night. http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/woman-who-drove-into-triplets-sentenced-to-13-years-in-prison/1223244
April 3rd, 2012, 04:13 PM
She should have gotten much, much more
April 3rd, 2012, 06:22 PM
It's not much of a sentence, but it's better than nothing, and at least she'll never be permitted to drive legally again.
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