Woman admits to taking friend's young daughter on drug-fuelled joyride



TORONTO -- An Etobicoke woman admitted Monday she took her friend's young daughter on a drug-fuelled joyride that resulted in two separate collisions.

Crown attorney Katherine Rogozinski said Tara Hebscher abducted Jessica, the four-year-old daughter of Veronica Wentzell and her common-law spouse, Ryan McCormick, on May 29, 2010.

Hebscher, 49, pleaded guilty to impaired driving and failing to stop. Justice John McMahon will sentence her on May 3.

Doctors diagnosed Hebscher with a drug overdose and blood tests found she had "very high levels of codeine and Oxycodone along with trace elements of methadone," Rogozinski said.

"The levels of codeine and Oxycodone in her blood exceeded therapeutic levels and may have caused toxicity," she said.

In reading an agreed statement of fact, Rogozinski said Wentzell and Jessica visited Hebscher's home to use her bathroom. The couple were assisting another friend at the Cheviot Pl. townhouse complex renovate their bathroom.
While Wentzell was in the washroom, Hebscher fled in her van with Jessica. Wentzell and Hebscher became friends when both previously lived in the complex.

Initially, Wentzell thought her friend -- who hadn't asked for permission to take the child -- had gone with Jessica to the store.

When Wentzell discovered an empty Oxycontin prescription bottle -- filled only three days earlier -- she feared the worst and at 11 p.m. reported her child was abducted, Rogozinski said.

Hebscher rear-ended a vehicle driven by a senior with two elderly passengers.

"Hebscher refused to identify herself, offered the victim money not to call police and then drove away," Rogozinski said.

Hebscher kept driving her 1998 Chevrolet van erratically, crossed the centre median and sideswiped the rear driver's side of Daniel Burgoa's northbound car, court heard.

He was driving with his wife and their two children, aged six and eight.

No one was seriously injured.

Officers concluded Hebscher was impaired. While en route to hospital, Hebscher came in and out of consciousness, had difficulty breathing and exhibited low blood pressure.

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