Felicia Miller went to a downtown Kansas City courthouse on Tuesday to describe the “hell” she and her family, most notably her 6-year-old daughter Ariel Young, have been through since former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid drove drunk and smashed into their parked car 21 months ago.
She wanted to tell of the horrors of her daughter’s two weeks in a coma, the long, uncertain rehab and the lingering effects that have left her with everything from physical impairment to being in special education.
She also wanted to implore Circuit Judge Charles H. McKenzie to give Britt Reid more than the four-year prison sentence that prosecutors recommended as part of a plea deal. Miller called that deal an “outrage” and called for the maximum seven-year sentence. She even brought her daughter, wearing an “Ariel Strong” sweatshirt, along.
“He needs to go to prison for the maximum amount of time,” Miller pleaded.
Instead, McKenzie at least partially headed the arguments of Reid’s defense team and sentenced Reid, the son of Chiefs legendary head coach Andy Reid, to three years in prison. At least one local defense attorney told Yahoo Sports Reid will likely serve less than a year before being paroled.
It is one less than what prosecutors sought and stunning considering the severity of the crime and the history of the criminal.
It brings a bitter end to the legal proceedings for the victims, a working class Kansas City family, who have believed Reid received preferential treatment throughout the process due to he and his family’s football fame and fortune.
“The victims of this crime are outraged that the defendant was not sentenced to the maximum sentence allowable by law,” said Tom Porto, lawyer for the victims.
Reid has acknowledged getting drunk at the team facility on February 4, 2020, before attempting to drive home with a .113 blood alcohol concentration.
He made it less than a half a mile before slamming at 84 miles per hour into two vehicles parked on the side of an interstate on ramp. One was dealing with car trouble. The other came to assist.
Six people, including Reid, were injured. The most serious was then 5-year-old Ariel, who is expected to be impacted for the rest of her life.
In a blistering victim impact statement, Miller characterized Reid as privileged, out of touch and unsympathetic. She repeatedly noted he was a repeat offender with convictions on road rage, DUI and drug charges in multiple incidents in Pennsylvania where his father then coached the Philadelphia Eagles. She also mocked his requests for probation.
“It’s been nearly 21 months since Britt Reid hurt us,” Miller said. “He apologized last month for first the time … To be clear, your apology is not accepted.
“He apologized to us at the same time he apologized to ‘Chiefs Kingdom,’ ” Miller said, using the term for Chiefs fans. “This is not a game. This is not a Chiefs’ game. This is our life.”
Miller detailed for the first time publicly the horrors of seeing through her rearview mirror as Reid’s Dodge Ram truck sped toward her vehicle that was there to aid a relative. She was knocked unconscious at impact only to awaken in a panic over the fate of two children in the now crumbled over backseat.
“We awoke into chaos. ‘Where were our babies?’ Where was Julianna? Where was Ariel?’ ” Miller recalled. “Juliana — a child — was knocked out. She had a broken nose. Ariel didn’t look like herself. She was stiff. She wasn’t responding. She would not wake up.
“And she didn’t wake up. For two weeks.”
Reid, 37, was suspended by the Chiefs from his job coaching the team’s outside linebackers and his contract was not renewed. Days later, the team lost to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl. Eventually Ariel came out of the coma, but the long-term extent of the injuries came into focus.
“When she woke up, Ariel didn’t go home,” Miller said. “She tried to relearn how to walk and talk and eat before we left the hospital. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t run in the yard anymore like the sweet, innocent Ariel we had known.
“We were discharged from the hospital to our small home not far from the highway where Britt Reid hurt us. Ariel laid on a couch with a feeding tube in place. I would load her into my car and take her to therapy. She couldn’t walk. She cried in the wheelchair. So I carried my 5-year-old like a new-born baby.
“When we drove to therapy, she would vomit in the car due to her new motion sickness. She still has this motion sickness. Britt Reid did this. He wants probation?
“… Today, Ariel drags her right foot when she walks,” Miller said. “Next month we’re going to see a doctor about leg braces. She has terrible balance. She takes longer to process information than her peers. She will have to be in special ed. She wears thick glasses that she never wore before.
“This is our life.”
The family reached an unspecified deal with the Chiefs last year that covers Ariel’s medical care and provides “long-term financial stability,” according to family attorney Tom Porto of the Popham Law Firm.
At last month’s plea agreement hearing, Britt Reid acknowledged publicly for the first time drinking at the Chiefs facility. Both the team and the NFL itself initially announced it would investigate the incident but neither will offer comment on what, if anything, was found. Questions remains such as was Reid drinking alone in the Chiefs’ facility or with others, drinking in secret or openly, if anyone knew that he was drunk when he left the facility or if anyone kept an eye on an at-risk employee.
Reid has battled substance abuse and legal issues for much of his adult life. If not for nepotism, he never would have been hired for a coveted NFL assistant coaching position with that background and his thin resume. Andy Reid is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history and in February of 2020, led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years.
Miller said that Britt Reid having so many advantages makes the situation even worse.
“He had every opportunity in life,” Miller said. “Instead of doing something with the opportunities that have been handed to him, Britt Reid hurt us. Ariel’s life is forever changed because of Britt Reid. Her life will be dealing with the damage that Britt Reid did.
“She will never play sports,” Miller added. “Sports, [which] his family has made a living off of. She’ll never do that. He took that from her. She will deal with the effects of his actions every day for the rest of her life.”
In the end, her words rang out in that Kansas City courtroom, but apparently to little avail.
Britt Reid got three years in prison.
The impact on Ariel Young and her family will last a lifetime.