A Mayfair woman pleaded guilty to simple assault Thursday, 10 months after she mistook her gas pedal for the brake and drove her BMW into a Bucks County day care, injuring five children inside.
Sahar Bahbah, 52, entered the plea before Bucks County Court Judge Gary B. Gilman, who said that although the crash was caused by her “stunning negligence,” she had shown remorse for her actions.
“The miracle is that no one was killed,” Gilman said. “This was an accident, but it is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Gilman sentenced Bahbah to 45 months of probation — nine months for each child hurt in the crash. She must also take a safe driving course and complete 100 hours of community service.
Through an interpreter, Bahbah tearfully apologized to the mothers of the victims assembled inside Gilman’s courtroom, appealing to them as a parent herself. She said she, too, has been traumatized by what she called a terrible accident.
“Whatever I say, it will not take this day away,” Bahbah said. “I would never wish this on your children, just like I would never wish this on my kids.”
Bahbah was working for the food-delivery service Grubhub on Feb. 27, which took her to Children of America Daycare in Upper Southampton Township, according to investigators.
As she got out of her BMW, Bahbah realized she had not put the car into park and panicked, investigators said, stepping on the gas pedal instead of the brake.
That sent the sedan speeding over the concrete barrier in the parking lot and crashing into the exterior wall of the day care. Inside, 17 children were napping on cots in the room the car entered.
Five were injured, with most suffering contusions, bruising, and concussions. One 4-year-old suffered much more serious wounds, including a lacerated liver, fractured pelvis, and broken ribs that required months of physical therapy, according to Deputy District Attorney Robert James.
“This is a case where the defendant lacked complete situational awareness,” James said. “She seemed to show more concern about making a delivery.”
The mothers of the injured children appeared in Gilman’s courtroom to describe those injuries, as well as the anguish they said their children still feel. Their sons and daughters have trouble sleeping in their beds alone, and have struggled to complete remote sessions with therapists over video.
Shivaun Young choked back tears as she recounted the frantic call she received from the day care on the day of the crash, and her hurried trip to Abington Hospital to see her son.
“He was such a sweet little boy before this,” she said. “He still is a sweet little boy, but he’s terrified.”
Despite their pain, Young and the other parents seemed to forgive Bahbah, and looked to move on from the trauma of that February day.
“There has been enough suffering,” Young said. “We don’t want to see anyone suffer anymore.”