Lady will get 17 years in jail in deadly street racing accident she blames on sufferer; Tears flowed within the courtroom

Tears flowed on both sides of a Jefferson County courtroom on Monday as a 24-year-old Birmingham woman learned her fate for a road racing accident that killed an innocent Jefferson County grandmother.

Carmesia Flannigan, 24, was convicted in October on a reduced charge of reckless manslaughter in the March 21, 2021 death of 52-year-old Brandy Ballard.

Flannigan had been charged with murder.

Following the fatal crash and Flannigan’s arrest, she released two separate, expletive Facebook Live videos blaming Ballard for the crash.

“That old ass lady veered into my lane,” Flannigan said in a video.

The videos were removed from Facebook but posted to YouTube and had thousands of views.

Ballard’s niece and son addressed the court Monday and said they had forgiven Flannigan.

They also played a tape of Ballard, recorded shortly before her death, in which Ballard praised God and everything he had done in her life.

“We never know what God’s plan is for us in our lives,” Ballard said on that fateful recording. “Even if it doesn’t seem right at times, our Heavenly Father knows what he’s doing. He prepares us for a better place.”

Flannigan also addressed the court and said she regretted causing Ballard’s death. During the procedure, she repeatedly wiped her eyes with a handkerchief.

“Thank you for forgiving me,” she said.

Carmesia Flannigan (YouTube)

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Teresa Pulliam had harsh words for the defendant, addressing the Facebook Live videos before sentenced Flannigan to 17 years in prison.

“These are your words, Miss Flannigan – ‘She did it to her mother when she met me,'” the judge said. “That speaks volumes to me and I can’t get it out of my head.”

However, the judge told Flannigan that there is light at the end of the tunnel if she wanted it.

“You can be redeemed,” Pulliam said.

Ballard, a home health worker and grandmother of five, was on her way to work just after 6 a.m. that Sunday when authorities said her 2007 Ford Focus was hit by a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro crossing the center lane.

Police and coroners said investigators believe the Camaro was being driven by another vehicle at the time of the fatal accident.

The crash occurred at 6:10 a.m. and Ballard was pronounced dead four minutes later. She was only two blocks from her house.

Police said witnesses saw cars racing before the accident.

Brandy Ballard

Brandy Ballard was killed when police said a female street racer drove into a vehicle on Sunday March 21, 2021. (Contributed)

Flannigan was arrested for murder the day after the fatal accident and left the scene with injuries and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. She was released the following day after posting $175,000 bail.

The charges of leaving the scene and drug possession were dropped.

Ballard’s niece, Amanda Moore, described Ballard as a beautiful person. She said she wanted Flannigan to think about Ballard every day she was in prison.

“She’s going to have to deal with that for the rest of her life,” said Amanda Moore. “I forgive her. I’ll just never forget it and I hope God can forgive her.”

Ballard’s son Preston Moore spoke about his mother’s struggle with addiction and her recovery. She had been sober for three years when she was killed, and he described her as the “crown jewel” of her family.

Preston Moore said he was in active addiction when his mother was killed and said he went to prison to “cry out to God” and achieve his own sobriety.

Brandy Ballard

Brandy Ballard, 52, was killed on Sunday March 21, 2021 when police said she was hit by a Camaro that was road racing. (Contributed)

“My prayer for the accused is to know the Lord and find peace,” he said. “I have forgiven the accused in my heart and in my soul and I know God has a plan for them because He has a plan for all of us.”

Flannigan’s sister, Cariyauna Hall, spoke on behalf of the defendant.

She spoke about her sister’s growing up in foster care and the trauma and abuse she suffered in the system.

“I know in my heart that my sister is not a bad person,” Hall said through sobs.

“She has a son. He is 6 years old. I don’t want him to grow up without a mother because I know how difficult it is.”

Hall told Ballard’s family that she was sorry it happened. “I know it hurts,” she said.

To her sister, Hall said, “She’s only 24. She has her whole life ahead of her. I don’t want her to be thrown down the drain for making a mistake she didn’t mean to make.”

Flannigan’s attorney said the trauma of her childhood led to her actions on That Morning and the subsequent Facebook Live videos. He asked her to be sentenced to 20 years in prison, five of them.

Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Joe Roberts, however, called for the maximum sentence — 20 years behind bars.

He said Flannigan was partying all night at the Onyx Club, was legally drunk and had drugs in her system when Ballard was hit.

She was doing 80 mph in a 30 mph zone and the impact internally decapitated Ballard.

“She made a choice and has to live with the consequences,” Roberts said. “She had no concern for the safety of others.”

“The jury has already given her a break by finding her guilty of reckless manslaughter and not murder out of extreme indifference,” Roberts said. “She got the only break she deserves on this one.”

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