Mom drives drunk in Kansas with her kids in the car and her 4-year-old dies in fiery crash

WICHITA, KS – A Kansas woman faces years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence, resulting in the death of her 4-year-old daughter in a fiery car accident.

Britne Lee Costello, 33, admitted to her role in the tragic February crash during her court appearance in Sedgwick County District Court last Friday. Court records indicate that along with the involuntary manslaughter charge, she also confessed to aggravated battery for injuries sustained by her 2-year-old son in the wreck.

The accident investigation unfolded when deputies from the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office received a distress call around 5:15 p.m. on February 19, 2023. Upon reaching the intersection of MacArthur Road and 215th Street West, they found Costello’s 2012 Ford Explorer ditched and rapidly catching fire.

Despite the imminent danger, Costello insisted on remaining inside the burning vehicle until her children were safely extracted. Authorities rescued the children through the rear window before finally pulling Costello from the car.

The scene quickly became fatal when paramedics declared Costello’s 4-year-old daughter unresponsive upon extricating her from the vehicle. All three were rushed to Wesley Medical Center. The young girl succumbed to her injuries a few hours later, with an autopsy revealing death due to multiple blunt force traumas. The 2-year-old boy survived with a fractured clavicle, while Costello suffered neck lacerations.

An investigation into the accident showed that the vehicle had careened off-road, moving 326 feet through a ditch before going airborne and crashing into a culvert. This caused the car to tumble and eventually come to rest on its passenger side. Signs indicated that there had been no heavy application of the brakes prior to the vehicle losing control.

By the time firefighters arrived, the Explorer was completely engulfed in flames. Evidence of alcohol consumption was apparent when deputies at the crash site and aboard the ambulance detected the smell of alcohol on Costello’s breath. Costello’s blood alcohol content was reported to be 0.112, exceeding the legal driving limit, with later accounts from the children’s father suggesting the consumption of vodka earlier in the day.

Costello’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 25, where she will confront the consequences of the charges to which she has already pleaded guilty.