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MOTHER GETS LAST CHANCE IN ENDANGERMENT CASE

A Buffalo woman who left her twin baby daughters in a hot car while she was off smoking crack cocaine on Labor Day was spared a jail term Monday. But a judge warned that this was her "final chance" to turn around her life and avoid a lengthy prison term.

Megan K. Smith, 26, was placed on probation for the next five years and ordered to continue drug addiction treatment. Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka imposed the terms on her Sept. 28 guilty plea to felony reckless endangerment and child endangerment charges.

Pietruszka also ordered the Huntington Avenue woman to submit to the Erie County Probation Department's electronic monitoring program until further notice and to continue the drug treatment programs until "successfully discharged."

Smith spent nearly a month in jail after being arrested as she tried to hide from police near railroad tracks between Dewey and Kensington avenues at about 2 p.m. Sept. 6. Pietruszka said he was sparing her further jail time because she has continued efforts to rehabilitate herself.

Smith sees her twin daughters, Emily and Allie, for two hours every Sunday during supervised visits with her mother, who is caring for them.

The judge issued orders of protection for Smith's 15-month-old twin daughters. The orders, while allowing Smith to see the twins, threaten her with jail should she mistreat them in any way.

Prosecutor Thomas E. Fowler Jr. said police found the girls crying inside Smith's locked parked car on Brewster Street on a day when the temperature was in the mid-80s.
e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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