WATERLOO – A Waterloo man has been sentenced to probation and a stint in a halfway house for leaving the scene of an accident that almost killed his girlfriend’s daughter.

Prosecutors had sought 15 years in prison for 53-year-old James Harold Smith, who was convicted of leaving the scene and serious injury by vehicle during a November trial.

But Judge Brad Harris on Monday sentenced Smith to up to 15 years in prison, suspended to two to five years of probation with one year at the Waterloo Residential Correctional Facility. Smith will remain in custody until space becomes available at the facility.

Authorities said the 11-year-old girl and other children were climbing on Smith’s Dodge Durango while it was idling in a driveway on Mulberry Street in April when he accelerated away. The girl became caught in the wheel well and was thrown. He left before authorities arrived, and his girlfriend, Anita Nelson, remained behind and allegedly told police she didn’t know who was driving.

The girl suffered a number of broken ribs and lacerations and punctures to her internal organs and was in a medically induced coma for 45 days.

Nelson pleaded to making false reports and in December was sentenced to 16 days in jail suspended to four days and one year of informal probation.

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