Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for driving while intoxicated and causing a 2021 crash that severely injured a 5-year-old girl.
Reid, who is the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, had pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of driving while intoxicated, causing serious injury, for the Feb. 4, 2021, crash.
During the hearing, he spoke directly to Ariel Young, who is now 6, and her family, who were in the courtroom.
“Every time I see my daughter, I think about Ariel and how my decision affected her so deeply and her family,” he said.
Reid’s voice quavered and he paused momentarily to compose himself.
“Anger and hate are powerful motivators, but I truly believe love and forgiveness are even more powerful.
“Whatever my sentence is, I understand and accept responsibility for the decision I made that night.”
Ariel’s mother, Felicia Miller, in a statement read by assistant Jackson County prosecutor Brady Twenter during the hearing, said her daughter still suffers from the crash. She drags her right foot when she walks, has trouble keeping her balance and becomes nauseated during car rides. Ariel takes special education classes and now wears thick glasses.
“This is our life,” Miller said in the statement. “Ariel’s life is forever changed because of Britt Reid. Her life will be dealing with the damage that Britt Reid did.
“She will deal with the effects of his actions every day for the rest of her life. We will deal with her.”
Ariel was a passenger in one of two vehicles that Reid’s pickup slammed into on the side of the entrance ramp along Interstate 435, near the team’s practice facility.
Circuit Court Judge Charles H. McKenzie sentenced Reid, 37, who was immediately taken into custody.
“The reckless actions you have committed have done so much harm to Ariel and her family. There has to be a response,” McKenzie said.
He later told Ariel, “I’m sorry this happened to you. I hope your days get better.”
Prosecutors said Reid was driving 83 mph two seconds before the collision and had a serum blood alcohol content of 0.113 about two hours after the crash. The legal limit is 0.08, according to Missouri law.
Prosecutors reached a plea agreement with Reid and his attorney, J. R. Hobbs. In doing so, prosecutors agreed they would ask McKenzie to sentence Reid to no more than four years in prison.
Reid could have faced up to seven years in prison, the maximum under the law.
Afterwards Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she was grateful for the judge and the decision he made.
“Two families are greatly impacted and Ariel and her family have a long road yet to recovery and we don’t know how much recovery there will be left for her,” Baker said. “And of course, the Reid family, we wish them well and we know both are suffering today but the rule of law has spoken.”
Hobbs asked McKenzie to place Reid on probation, which was denied.
In a written statement after the hearing, Hobbs said “Britt Reid respects the Court’s decision and appreciates the time and attention given to this matter. He sincerely regrets and accepts responsibility for his conduct and hopes and prays for A.Y.’s continued recovery.”
Prosecutors noted Reid had a criminal history involving substance abuse in Pennsylvania. When Reid was 21 years old in 2007, he was convicted of the felony of carrying a firearm without a license, misdemeanor simple assault, possession of a controlled substance and possession of an instrument of crime. Reid was placed on probation.
In his sentencing memo to McKenzie, Hobbs wrote that the earlier convictions happened years before the 2021 crash and his client “has tried to appropriately address his situation in terms of substance abuse.”
After the sentencing, Tom Porto, an attorney for Ariel and her family, said the victims of this crime are angry that Reid was not sentenced to the maximum sentence allowable by law.
“No amount of prison time will ever be enough to punish the defendant for the pain and suffering he caused this family and the ongoing difficulties that Ariel will continue to endure for the rest of her life,” Porto said in a written statement.
“She will endure. She will strive and she will thrive. She is ‘Ariel strong.’”
Reid had left the Chiefs facility about 9 p.m. when his pickup truck struck a Chevrolet Impala, which he said he did not see because its lights were off. Reid said he continued south on the interstate and then rear-ended a Chevy Traverse. He dialed 911 moments later.
Miller had previously told investigators she had arrived to help her cousin, whose Impala had run out of gas and stalled. Miller said she got back into the driver’s seat of her Traverse and looked in the rear view mirror when she saw the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.
Reid told the arriving officer that he “was looking over his left shoulder to evaluate traffic so he could merge,” according to prosecutors.
Miller was momentarily knocked unconscious by the impact of the crash and was struck by the airbag. As she regained consciousness, Miller called out to her children. She found Ariel in the Traverse under the third seat that had folded.
Ariel was unresponsive and was taken by paramedics to Children’s Mercy Hospital.
Following the crash, a Kansas City police officer noticed that Reid’s eyes were “bloodshot and red.” Reid told the officers at the scene that he had “two to three drinks.”
Ariel suffered a traumatic brain injury that included swelling and bleeding. She also had a fracture, brain contusions and subdural hematomas.
Miller said Ariel remained in the hospital and was unconscious for two weeks following the crash.
In November, the Kansas City Chiefs and Ariel’s family reached a confidential financial agreement to cover her ongoing medical treatment and “long-term financial stability.”
“It has been nearly 21 months since Britt Reid hurt us,” Miller said. “He apologized last month for the first time right before he pleaded guilty.
“To be clear — your apology is not accepted.”
This story was originally published November 1, 2022 4:40 PM.