A South Carolina man was sentenced Tuesday to 28 years in prison after leaving his 19-month-old daughter to die in a burning car during a police chase, ABC News reports.
Imhotep Norman, 28, of Spartanburg, pleaded guilty of homicide by child abuse, failure to stop for a blue light and siren, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of with intent to distribute amphetamine, possession of oxycodone, and possession of Xanax.
In April 2019, Norman’s vehicle caught fire while trying to flee police during a highway chase. Norman jumped from the burning car, leaving his daughter inside as he attempted to escape on foot. By the time officials extinguished the fire, Xena Norman had died due to acute carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal burns.
During the pursuit, police saw Norman toss a backpack containing an assortment of illegal drugs out of the moving vehicle. Authorities recovered the backpack, resulting in additional drug-related charges.
At a court hearing following the incident, Norman claimed the car “wasn’t on fire” when he got out of it.
“It was going by itself,” Norman said. “I couldn’t hit the gas or the brakes or anything anymore. When I hit the brakes in it, I just kept going the same amount of speed.”
He continued, “I would have never got out the car while the car was on fire. I seen sparks coming from under the tires when I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop at that point. I don’t know why what happened to the car were I couldn’t stop.”
Norman will serve 85 percent of his prison sentence before he is eligible for release.