On February 12, 2012, an intoxicated woman was driving with two children in the vehicle when she slammed into a veteran schoolteacher who was making a legal left turn. The drunk driver ran from the scene, leaving behind two injured children and the critically injured driver of the other vehicle. The teacher was transported to St. Francis hospital in Tulsa, where she died of her injuries.
Police issued a warrant for the arrest of Marquita Littlebear, then 29, and she was apprehended after she sought treatment for her own injuries at a local hospital.
Woman Charged With Murder
Littlebear, who had prior convictions for reckless driving and DUI, was arrested on multiple criminal complaints, including DUI, murder, child abuse, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving without a license.
Earlier this week, she was sentenced for multiple convictions related to the case, including second degree felony murder. In general, a first offense of DUI is a misdemeanor; however, because of her prior DUI conviction in 2004, the second DUI that led to the fatal accident in 2012 was a felony. According to 21 O.S. 701.8, an act of homicide is second degree murder when the death occurs during the commission of any felony other than those violent crimes that would make the act first degree murder.
Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison
For the second degree murder conviction, Littlebear was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Because second degree murder is an 85 Percent Crime, she must serve at least 34 years of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Although Tulsa County District Judge Bill Museman merged some offenses, leading to the dismissal of a DUI conviction and a hit and run charge, he ordered other convictions to be served consecutively to the murder sentence.
Littlebear was sentenced to 4 years in prison for child endangerment and to 10 years in prison for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. As a result of the accident and subsequent criminal charges, she is sentenced to 64 consecutive years in prison.
According to a Tulsa news station, Littlebear's prior convictions include a 1997 reckless driving conviction that led to the loss of her license, a 2004 DUI conviction, and a 2006 public intoxication conviction. Also in 2006, she was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, also a felony, but that case was dismissed when the prosecution witness failed to appear.
Littlebear has also been named in a civil lawsuit filed by the mother of one of the children who was riding in the vehicle with Littlebear and who was injured in the collision. According to the lawsuit, the child suffers continued emotional and physical pain after the accident, she has incurred extensive medical bills. The mother is seeking in excess of $75,000 in actual and punitive damages from Marquita Littlebear, the estate of the driver who was killed in the accident, the owner of the car Littlebear was driving, and an insurance company.